The multi-million pound bonanza for town

TVU Managing Director Stephen Catchpole with the map of Tees Valley's Enterprise Zone
TVU Managing Director Stephen Catchpole with the map of Tees Valley's Enterprise Zone

MASSIVE packages worth up to £100m could be awaiting businesses who decide to come to Hartlepool’s part of the Tees Valley Enterprise Zone.

Regeneration chiefs have revealed the scale of potential investment opportunities on offer to firms – especially foreign investors – in areas such as Port Estates, Hartlepool, the New Energy and Tech Park, in Billingham, PD Ports and South Bank Wharf, in Middlesbrough and Wilton.

All of those areas have been earmarked for large-scale development as Capital Allowances zones, with Port Estates targeted for wind energy.

Stephen Catchpole, the managing director of Tees Valley Unlimited, which led the campaign to get Government approval for the enterprise zone, said: “Part of the attraction is enhanced capital allowances which is up to £100m per application for plant and machinery.

“What the company gets is the ability to offset that against Corporation Tax.

“If you are a foreign investor, you are not paying Corporation Tax so that is able to be rolled forward against future tax which is a real benefit.”

Mr Catchpole said the first task was to deliver a five-year programme which would see the enterprise zones set up and real progress in bringing in investors.

“All the elements are there and this will give a real boost to the area,” he said. “The next stage is to sort out the planning and make sure it is absolutely right.”

As well as Capital Allowance sites, the zone also has other sites where Business Rate Relief is offered as an incentive to companies.

These chosen sites include Queens Meadow and Oakesway, in Hartlepool, as well Belasis Hall Tech Park, in Billingham.

Mr Catchpole said: “The first call will be to offer Business Rate Relief on certain sites and we have to be clear about how we can promote and target the markets and businesses that we want to come in.”

Alastair Thomson, the chairman of the Institute of Directors North East, said: “We welcome the good news that enterprise zone status has been secured to support

industries that will contribute to the future economic well-being of the Tees Valley.”

James Ramsbotham, the chief executive of the North East Chamber of Commerce, said: “Businesses in the Tees Valley require a sophisticated package of support to promote

investment and it’s welcome that this has been acknowledged.”

Hartlepool Mayor Stuart Drummond added: “We have got three of the key sites in the enterprise zone and there has been a hell of a lot of work gone into convincing the Government what we want, and what they have given us is the vast majority of what we are after.”

Damien Wilson, the assistant director of regeneration and planning at Hartlepool Borough Council, stressed nothing had really been achieved yet. He said: “Making sure that we get delivery on the ground is the critical factor.”

He said Hartlepool could be looking at clinching “the kind of core industries it has not had for some time”.