Work prospects are looking rosy

HARTLEPOOL could hold the key to a brighter Tees Valley economic future.

That was the message from the latest economic briefing issued by regeneration experts Tees Valley Unlimited as they looked back on a relatively quiet November.

TVU bosses issued a monthly round-up of the area’s economy and they told of a quiet month - probably in advance of busier times just around the corner.

A spokesman said: “November saw the opening of the new Clipper Logistics warehouse, the imminent investment of oil and gas firm SNF, expansion activity on Tees Valley’s Enterprise Zone, the growth of a number of engineering firms and government backing secured for a number of local projects.”

But he said actual job created numbers were low although “the potential for over 1,100 remains.”

A breakdown of the month’s activities shows;

l Clipper Logistics opened an import hub for the Asda George clothing range at Wynyard Park. The 1m sq ft facility will create 400 jobs.

l SNF Oil and Gas is to create 250 jobs in Billingham through a £150m project, producing chemicals for the oil recovery market.

l Town based Durable Technologies Limited is expanding at Queens Meadow, creating nine new jobs.

But there was bad news as well.

Steel giants Tata announced they were cutting 90 jobs at their 42-inch mill in Brenda Road, Hartlepool, because of limited orders received beyond February 2013.

The cutbacks are part of 900 redundancies across the UK. Tata say these are necessary due to falling demand for steel in Europe.

And the closure of Comet stores throughout the Tees Valley also provided a sombre note.

But most of the news was promising and there could be more on the way.

Wynyard Park have submitted an outline planning application to Stockton Council to develop more than 700 new homes and a 200 property retirement village on land north of Lion Court off the A689.

A TVU spokesman said: “The scheme could potentially provide a £100m boost to the local economy and tie into the plans of North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust

which has earmarked Wynyard as the site for a new hospital.”

And giant chemical firm Johnson Matthey in Billingham has secured a £100m loan from the European Investment Bank to support specialist research to develop

catalyst technologies to help reduce emissions from vehicles.