Latest Public Sector News


Tees Valley to use compulsory purchase powers to bring former steelworks back into public ownership as Houchen declares ‘we won’t be held to ransom’

Tees Valley Combined Authority (TVCA) has opted to use a compulsory purchase order (CPO) to bring the remaining 870 acres of land at a former steelworks site back into public ownership, ending a long-running dispute.

Nearly 3,000 people at the site in Redcar lost their jobs in 2015 when the Thai steel firm SSI closed down, leaving the region with an unemployment rate twice the UK national average.

Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen signed a deal last month to acquire around over half the developable land at the site, roughly the size of Gibraltar, from its owners Tata Steel Europe.

Now the combined authority has announced it will use compulsory purchasing powers to secure the remaining 870 acres of land on the SSI site, bringing to an end a deadlock over the value of the land.

Negotiations started in May 2017 and Houchen, along with vice chairs Steve Gibson and Sue Jeffery, reached an agreement with the three banks in Thailand who hold the assets.

The authority said the negotiations had reached a deadlock and that despite numerous attempts to negotiate the transfer of land, no agreement was reached, and Houchen warned several times that CPO powers would be used if an agreement had not been made by March 2019.

Speaking after the meeting where the CPO move was agreed, Houchen said: “While we have already secured more than half of all developable land on site, I’m not prepared to wait any longer to acquire the remaining 870 acres held by SSI UK in receivership.

“We have been negotiating in good faith since I was elected, but it’s clear now that the Thai Banks are taking us for a ride.

“Almost 3,000 people lost their livelihoods in 2015 when SSI collapsed, and I owe it to the former steelworkers and their families to secure the rest of the site for the people of Teesside where it belongs.”

The mayor said he was not prepared to write blank cheques on behalf of the taxpayer and be “held to ransom” by three foreign banks, saying he would pay market value and nothing more when the proceedings begin later this month.

He added: “The Thai Banks are clearly not playing ball, so we’ll exercise the powers handed to us by Parliament to ensure local people are back in control of the entire site. Once we control the entire site, we’ll be able to land even more investment and create even more jobs for local people.”

Image credit - Stuart Kerr - Corus Steel Works


There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

public sector executive tv

more videos >

last word

Prevention: Investing for the future

Prevention: Investing for the future

Rob Whiteman, CEO at the Chartered Institute of Public Finance (CIPFA), discusses the benefits of long-term preventative investment. Rising demand, reducing resource – this has been the r more > more last word articles >

public sector focus

View all News


Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

21/06/2019Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

Taking time to say thank you is one of the hidden pillars of a society. Bei... more >
How community-led initiatives can help save the housing shortage

19/06/2019How community-led initiatives can help save the housing shortage

Tom Chance, director at the National Community Land Trust Network, argues t... more >


Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

17/12/2018Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

It’s no secret that the public sector and its service providers need ... more >