Prospects looking good for zone bid

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PLANS to bring 15,000 jobs to Hartlepool are progressing well.

But the town might have to wait another three weeks before it finds out whether the Government has approved the proposals for a Tees Valley Enterprise Zone.

Regeneration chiefs at Tees Valley Unlimited have drawn up an ambitious package, creating 43,000 jobs for the Tees Valley with 15,000 for Hartlepool and its surroundings, and 7,800 for the Billingham area.

It would generate more than £4billion of capital investment over the next 25 years.

The zone, if approved, would include town sites such as Port Estates, Huntsman Pigments, Able Seaton, Queens Meadow, and Oakesway Industrial Estate, between them creating around 6,000 jobs.

Nearby, Seal Sands could create 3,135 jobs with another 400 coming to Billingham Chemicals, North; Billingham Chemicals, South; and Billingham Reach, and 6,566 to Belasis Hall Technology Park.

Tees Valley’s Enterprise Zone would aim to pull in firms from start-up businesses to international players by offering benefits such as Capital Allowance, Business Rate Relief and Tax Increment Finance.

A Tees Valley Unlimited spokesman told the Mail today: “We expect an announcement by the end of August. Talks with the Government are going well.”

If approved, the plans would make areas such as Queens Meadow a hub for firms in biotechnology and high value engineering, while the Oakesway Industrial Estate and the port area would be used to attract businesses working in renewable energy.