THE planning process is underway for a large-scale development to be built on part of the land formerly occupied by Redcar Steelworks on Teesside.

Billingham-based demolition and decommissioning firm ABLE UK has submitted its ‘scoping plans’ to build a huge plant on South Bank in Redcar.

The firm, which also specialises in the installation of offshore wind farms, operates some North-East ports in Middlesbrough, Billingham, Port Clarence and Seaton.

Scoping plans submitted reveal a site spanning 72-hectares, which will be used for the construction and assembly of offshore wind turbines for the North-East coast.

The Northern Echo:

The plans, which outlines the development and includes an assessment of the development’s environmental impact, have been submitted to planning officers at Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council.

If scoping plans are successful, an official planning application will be submitted later this year.

In its construction, significant elements, like a number of permanent cranes will make up the huge development.

The‘Significant Operational Plant' will take up much of the site, which will be where the wind turbines will be assembled.

Parts from a global supply chain will arrive on-site via ships on the River Tees, whilst finished wind turbines will leave via the same route.

To cater for the mammoth task of the ‘loading and unloading’ of parts, which can weigh in excess of 1,000 tonnes, a quay will have to be built near the site.

Planners say a separate licence will have to be obtained from the Marine Management Organisation to dredge the River Tees, in order to support a fully-functioning dock, approach channel, berthing pocket and turning area.

In the operational area of the Redcar plant, a number of cranes will need to be erected on-site.

The largest crane will be the main Quay Rail Crane, which will travel on rails between the quay and plant.

Designers anticipate the Quay Rail Crane will be 156 metres tall, just under three times the height of the 68 metre tall Tees Transporter Bridge.

Steve Barker of Prism Planning, on behalf of ABLE UK, said: “It’s the start of quite a challenge locally. It’s a large project.

“It will involve a lot more wind farms on the North-East coast and Teesside is well placed for this.”

“At the site, components for the wind turbines will come from all around the world and they will need to be sub-assembled and shipped into different facilities – some will be assembled on-site.”

If the finished planning application is successful, it is expected that the development will play a major part in the third phase of the UK’s offshore wind farms.

The Northern Echo:

Mr Barker added that the site had ‘long-term’ values, and said beyond the construction of offshore wind turbines in the North-East, the site would continue for the maintenance of equipment.

A spokesperson for the South Tees Development Corporation said: “The Tees Valley Mayor and the Development Corporation board are working with more than 100 different investors to unlock good-quality jobs on the former Redcar steelworks site.

“Unfortunately we’re unable comment on the details of specific projects at this time, although clean growth and offshore wind represents huge opportunities for the future of the site and the wider Tees Valley.”

ABLE UK became particularly known across the region for dismantling of the well-known 'Ghost Ships' in Hartlepool.

In 2003, the firm was awarded an £11m contract to carry out the work.