TEES Valley can already boast business success stories - and experts say it is proof for the Government that we have the capabilities to handle our own affairs.
From Enterprise Zones to the massive amounts of money secured through the Regional Growth Fund. We’re an area capable of punching well above our weight, said Tees Valley Unlimited managing director Stephen Catchpole.
And he believes that it’s all the more reason for the Government to give devolved power over skills, funding and transport to the region.
He said: “Already, we are seeing the rewards of the innovative programmes and bids we have submitted, and the opportunities our partnership business plan has identified.
“The aim of NEvolution is to encourage Government to devolve more power and resources to a local level to give us greater control to exploit our strengths and tackle our barriers to growth and most importantly put into action the Tees Valley strategic plans that match the bold ambitions of this area.
“It is an aim that we at TVU fully support.
“We have a real track record of success through local investment and intervention based on our knowledge of the requirements of our economy, evidenced in the case studies.”
Those case studies include the Tees Valley Enterprise Zones which cover 12 sites.
Described as ‘bold and clever’ by Eric Pickles, Communities and Local Government Minister, TVU came up with plans to attract small and medium sized companies and international conglomerates.
The forward thinking has paid dividends. Eight companies have located onto the Tees Valley Enterprise Zone investing £384m into the local economy and creating 177 new jobs.
Among them was Omega Plastics, a plastic injection moulding company working with Unilever, Aston Martin and McLaren Mercedes) and Propipe Limited who make specialist pipeline equipment for the oil and gas industry.
Both have moved onto the Queens Meadow Business Park in Hartlepool.
And there’s more to come. US company Air Products will build the world’s largest waste to energy gasification plant close to Seal Sands.
Lisa Jordon, Business Manager at Air Products, said: “We looked all across the UK, but Tees Valley offered us a number of advantages. You have very good industrial land; good access to the electrical infrastructure that we need with great road links but the key thing was we had excellent regional support from all the local organisations and stakeholders.”
Mr Catchpole said extra projects were already in the pipeline with further Enterprise Zone announcements expected very soon.