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FIRST LOOK: Airport freight facility lined up for end of year

FIRST LOOK: Airport freight facility lined up for end of year

Cgi on new Teesside Airport offices for Tees Valley Combined Authority, Image: TVCA

A first look at new office space to be created at Teesside Airport has been revealed, with hopes to create a new freight hub by the end of this year.

Officials say planning permission for a 1,360 sq m hub to replace ageing offices at the airport will be lodged in the coming days.

Bosses also want to expand how much cargo the airport handles with a new freight facility due to be opened later this year.

The publicly-owned airport has faced a tough pandemic with a £13.8m loss recorded in 2020/21 – and a £10m bailout agreed by leaders over the summer.

But alongside aims to get one million passengers by 2026 is work at the Southside Business Park – a £200m vision to create more than 4,000 jobs in the next 15 years.

Ground was broken on the new 270-acre site in March 2020 after decades of attempts at launching a park at the airport.

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said they wouldn’t lose sight of the airport’s flights but believed it was “much bigger than just a terminal building and a runway”.

He added: “Its location, accessibility, and the hundreds of acres for business and commercial development as part of Teesside Freeport are unrivalled.

“That’s why we’re kicking on, putting plans into action and ensuring that we maximise those non-aviation-based opportunities.”

The park and part of the northside of the airport are being included in the new Teesside Freeport.

A £23.6m loan to build the Southside business park was signed off by the Tees Valley Combined Authority in late 2019.

The joint venture with Theakston Land and Wynyard developers JC Musgrave will see the loan paid back to the TVCA over the next 25 years – with up to £3m gained in rents from the site to be put back into the airport.

It’s understood the contest to host a Treasury base – eventually won by Darlington – delayed some work at the South Side business park after the aviation site was initially mooted as a possible location for government jobs.

Officials say work will begin on a new road linking the A67 to the Southside next month to access the new business park.

Meanwhile, the new offices will provide a temporary home for the TVCA next year as it moves out of Cavendish House headquarters in Thornaby.

The aim is for the body to permanently relocate to Darlington to join Government departments, including the Treasury, at the town’s new “economic campus”.

Mr Houchen added the small step would save the combined authority “thousands of pounds” and boost rental income for the airport.

The Conservative mayor said: “Income streams will grow bigger and bigger as we develop both the Northside and Southside of the site as even more new businesses begin to call it home.

“The development of the airport’s land and property will be a key driver in it returning to profit within three years – and will support our wider plan.

“Additionally, its new freight facility will provide another valuable income stream, playing a strategic role as part of the Teesside Freeport and crucially create more good-quality, well-paid jobs for people across Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool.”

A row between Mr Houchen and union Unite broke out this week over Freeports and protection for workers.

Middlesbrough MP Andy McDonald said he wasn’t clear how the business park aspiration would help the immediate sustainability of the airport.

The Labour MP added: “That’s one question which needs to be answered because I don’t think it’s in the position the mayor expected it to be in financially.

“He talks about profitability in three years but we need greater scrutiny and transparency about how this is put together.

“We’re trying to peer behind corporate structures to understand how public money is being spent.”


Words: Alex Metcalfe, Local Democracy Reporter

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