Plans have been unveiled for a new business park in the north east, located next to Teesside Airport in Darlington.
The £200 million project will eventually create over 4,000 jobs and act as a major industrial and logistics hub for the region, with the advantage of easy access to and from the A67. Plant hire firms in the north east will be getting involved very swiftly, as the initial site work is set to be completed in the summer of this year.
Construction work on phase one of the project will be starting in the next few weeks, with four new units and a new 1.5km through road to serve them being built. The project is part of the airport’s ten year business plan.
Welcoming news of the development, Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen said: “I've always said our airport is about far more than just flights for business and pleasure, as important as these are.”
He continued: “For our airport to thrive we need to have a fantastic offering for local businesses and to attract firms from other parts of the UK and from around the world to come to our region.”
As Mr Houchen noted, the new development follows hard on the heels of the redevelopment of the terminal, which is almost finished, while the airport’s Bannatyne Spa - named after County Durham-based celebrity chef Duncan Bannatyne - has just opened.
The mayor said the “untapped potential” of the site was being demonstrated already by firms operating out of the airport like Draken and Willis, adding that the benefits of the airport business park will not just be felt by the businesses that operate there, “but provide funding that we can pump back into our airport to make it secure and profitable for years to come."
Teesside is one of the areas that may expect a lot of development funding over the next few years as an area identified as being in need of ‘levelling up’. The term, which has often been used to refer to heavily pro-Brexit ”left behind” areas in the so-called Red Wall of former Labour seats won by the Conservatives in the 2019 general election, is epitomised by this area.
In this area, seats like Middlesbrough South and Cleveland East, Darlington and nearby former mining seats like Bishop Auckland switched political allegiance, with Conservative MPs in these locations pushing hard for extra funding.
While these are not the only areas getting levelling up cash - solidly Labour Sheffield was named in the latest funding announcement - the fact is that Teesside has certainly been getting plenty of attention. Last year, a £20 million bid for levelling up cash on behalf of Yarm and Eaglescliffe was agreed by the Treasury, helping fund projects ranging from a new exhibition centre to cycle paths.
Other locations in the north east receiving money in the first round of funding included Bishop Auckland, for a transport infrastructure improvement project, as well as the Stockton-on-Tees town centre regeneration project.
Further funds could stimulate more building around the region, in addition to measures like moving the Treasury offices to Darlington.