THE bid to bring more than 5,500 jobs to Hartlepool was today being stepped up.
And town chiefs say it is an important move in their bid to “steal a march” and attract big industry to town.
Officials were due to meet with the leadership board of Tees Valley Unlimited (TVU) where they will decide which areas to include in a Tees Valley Enterprise Zone and Hartlepool looks set to get at least two.
One is the Queens Meadow Business Park where up to 4,200 jobs could be created over the next 25 years.
Three hundred new businesses would be expected to come to town and the area would be a specialist zone for the biotechnology sector.
Also in the running to be included would be Oakesway where 1,441 new jobs would be created in a supply chain for the renewable energy market.
Hartlepool Mayor Stuart Drummond said the leadership board meeting was “a big step” in finalising the aspirations for Hartlepool and the Tees Valley in attracting new jobs and business.
He added: “We want to ensure that we get the absolute maximum out of what is coming out of central Government for our area.
“All the signs are that the Government likes what they have seen.
“The submission for the enterprise zone gives us the opportunity to put Hartlepool out there as the place that people should come to.
“In the current worldwide financial climate, every inch that we can steal on any competitors will be extremely valuable.”
Mayor Drummond added: “The Tees Valley has been leading the way and helping shape the Government’s thinking with enterprise zones. It has the potential to be extremely good for us.”
After today’s TVU leadership board meeting, the zone plans will be open to consultation until Thursday, June 23.
After that, a special leadership board meeting will be held on Tuesday, June 28, before the proposals are submitted to the Communities Secretary Eric Pickles the next day for final Government approval.
The Government is expected to give its backing by the end of July.
After that, TVU will start to look at the planning process needed to bring in companies to the enterprise zone and that could take a year.
It means any enterprise zone might not realistically start until 2012 or 2013.
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