A DEAL which will see the development of land on the former Redcar steelworks site has been officially signed off.

The 1,420 acres of land has been acquired by the South Tees Development Corporation after Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen formally signed off the deal yesterday.

Tata Steel Europe’s board approved the deal last month, and it was subsequently agreed by the Development Corporation board.

As well as the land, it also includes almost 2km of prime river frontage.

The move now enables the Development Corporation to kick-start further negotiations with potential investors and press ahead with projects that are already earmarked for the site.

The most advanced projects looking to base themselves there are expected be on Tata land – the most immediately developable section of the site.

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Just last month, Northern Powerhouse Minister Jake Berry MP confirmed that the Development Corporation’s bid for £14m to unlock the first of these projects had been successful.

This brought the Government’s total commitment on the site since 2017 to £137m.

Work on the newly-acquired land could begin as early as this year, with the projects having the potential to create hundreds of jobs.

Since it was launched by the Prime Minister in August 2017, the South Tees Development Corporation has already seen more than 100 enquiries from around the world, with a potential first-phase investment pipeline of £10bn, as it aims to create 20,000 jobs over the next two decades.

Once the specific site is cleaned up, Mayor Houchen has pledged that rent and business rates from new investors will be used to clean up even more land for development.

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An artist's impression of how the site could look

Negotiations to secure the remaining 870 acres of land owned by SSI in receivership are ongoing.

Mayor Houchen said it had taken "blood sweat and tears" to get this far. He said: “The site we have acquired today is about the size of Gibraltar and it marks such an important part in our journey to bring the site back to life."

Mayor Houchen added: “We have a pipeline of investors, money to clean up the site, and now the land to develop out – there’s nothing stopping us now.”