Barry Denyer-Green appears for Tarmac opposing the Redcar CPO
Asphalt giant Tarmac has warned efforts to bring the former Redcar steelworks into public hands could cost the firm £10m if the move is approved. The South Tees Development Corporation (STDC) is vying to take over control of 2,300 acres of land south of the river near the former Redcar steelworks.
A deal is being worked on behind-the-scenes with Thai banks who have an interest in the former SSI land.After three years of trying to do a deal, the STDC started compulsory purchase proceedings to bring the land into public control, and a hearing started last week in South Bank. But a 72-acre stretch of land the corporation is trying to claim is occupied by Tarmac on land leased to the firm.
A planning inspector is weighing up whether the STDC should get the land, however, evidence offered up by Tarmac’s Ross Halley claims the cost of relocating could come to more than £10m.STDC bosses have hit back at the claim - saying the company could be entitled to compensation, and efforts were ongoing to put the firm elsewhere on a smaller 10-acre site.
Tarmac has an asphalt plant and two concrete plants to process minerals on land the STDC is trying to snap up. The STDC has an ambitious masterplan to create 20,000 jobs on the vast site south of the Tees. And it set out its case to control the land in hearings last week. But Wednesday morning saw objectors have their first say on the plans at South Tees Business Centre.
Barry Denyer-Green, acted for Tarmac, cross examined STDC representatives - and challenged them on the corporation’s aims for the firm’s home. Mr Denyer-Green added: “If you happen to look out of the window you can see a heap of materials which Tarmac processes. “Are you aware there is half a million tonnes of material there? Are you suggesting that area of land is under-utilised?” However, development corporation representatives argued the land could be put to better use.
Michael King, for the STDC, told the inspector talks he’d had with Tarmac indicated the firm “wanted to withdraw” from the site. And he added the development corporation had offered two alternative 10-acre sites for the firm. Mr King said: “The area Tarmac occupies is effectively 100 acres if you include overspill. Tarmac’s view is their requirement is for a 10 acres site. “Self-evidently, there is a degree of an impediment if Tarmac were to remain on their existing site.”
Corporation bosses were also quizzed over the significance of Tarmac - with Mr Denyer-Green suggesting the firm could be an “anchor tenant” for the development corporation’s vision. Mr Denyer-Green added: “Are you aware of the significance of the Tarmac name? "It’s the John Lewis of the construction industry.” Mr King said he “wasn’t sure that was a helpful comparison” but understood they were a leading competitor in the sector. But he argued Tarmac’s land on South Tees site was “dispersed” and could hold back the STDC regeneration vision.
The last minute deal between the STDC and three Thai banks still hung in the balance on Wednesday. If a deal isn't agreed, hearings are due to continue on Thursday at 10am.
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