IN September, I chaired a board meeting of the South Tees Development Corporation in Redcar.

I was sitting with Steve Gibson, the illustrious steelman John Baker, the two Labour leaders of the councils in Redcar and Middlesbrough, and many others beside, and we were united in preparing our first bid to the Government for cash to start work on the former SSI site.

We presented the Government with three options. The first was to do nothing. In this scenario, the Government would completely wash its hands and walk away from the Redcar site.

But to walk away from this highly contaminated site would have led to an environmental catastrophe – so the Government was never going to do that.

The second option was to do the bare minimum, to stick to the status quo, which meant paying for security and keeping the site as it is. That’s what the Government has been doing since 2015.

However, since the Prime Minister came up to Redcar and personally launched the Development Corporation in August, we were never going to let the Government do just the bare minimum – warm words don’t put food on the table.

The third option was our preferred option.

This would be to start the first phase of remediation works on the huge site. We knew this would require a tonne of cash from the Government, but we were determined to get this deal over the line.

Our final bid came in at £117m. It incorporated the bare minimum ‘keep safe’ costs of option two, and it added in around £50m to start decommissioning the coke ovens, pulling up gas mains, and general land remediation – our preferred third option. We felt this was vital as without this initial work, no private investor would touch the land with a barge pole.

We owed it to the people of Teesside to get this first tranche of cash, and over the next two months I spent countless hours with Chancellor Philip Hammond, the Business Secretary Greg Clark and Local Government Secretary Sajid Javid trying to get this deal over the line.

It was exhausting, but it was all worth it on Budget day last week when the Chancellor announced that our remediation bid has been successful.

In fact, his announcement exceeded our original bid. We have been given £123m over the next four years.

This is huge news and it will allow us to get spades in the ground as early as next year to remediate some parcels of land. The removal of these toxic risks will make the land incomparably more attractive to private investors – and already more than 60 have expressed an interest in the site.

Now we have got the money, the challenge changes: now we need to get the land ready for investment.

The site has been idle for the past two years and people’s patience is wearing thin.

Now we have the funds, we at the Development Corporation need to pull together and reach the very high bar that we have set ourselves.

This is the single biggest regeneration opportunity in the UK right now, and if we get it right, billions of private investment will flow into Redcar over the next two decades.

The Government has put its money where its mouth is, and now it’s my turn to deliver.