THE leader of South Tyneside Council has put pen to paper for a project that aims to create more than 5,000 new manufacturing jobs.
The official signing took place today for the multi-million pound Sunderland and South Tyneside ‘City Deal’.
The Government-backed partnership will see the creation of a 100-hectare International Advanced Manufacturing Park on land to the west of the A19 in West Boldon.
It is predicted the park will attract £295m of private sector investment and create an estimated 5,200 jobs.
South Tyneside Council leader Coun Iain Malcolm was at the official launch – at the Unipres manufacturing plant in Sunderland – with Sunderland City Council leader Coun Paul Watson, and the Government’s cities minister Greg Clark.
The development – the equivalent of 140 football pitches – is aimed at housing automotive, off-shore and hi-tech businesses.
The intention is to build on the North East’s track record for manufacturing and exporting success.
Coun Malcolm described the deal as a “very significant moment” for the borough.
He said: “This deal is of international significance, and shows the scale of our shared ambition and our commitment to economic growth in spite of the difficult financial climate.
“We know there is potential for manufacturing jobs in our region and strong interest in land for advanced manufacturing, and this deal can now move forward and make it a reality.
“In South Tyneside we have secured record levels of investment in recent years, and we are continuing to invest through things like the £100m South Shields 365 vision.
“Above all, today is about councils and business working together to create the jobs and growth the area needs.
“When it was announced, the deal was being compared in scale and size to when Nissan first announced it was moving to this region.”
As well as the park, the deal confirmed £82.5m towards Sunderland’s new Wear bridge project and backing for developing the city’s Vaux site into a central business district.
Coun Watson added: “This is a very significant moment for Sunderland, South Tyneside and the wider North East region.
“The government recognises how the City Deal is going to be a catalyst for future economic growth.
“This park and its regeneration benefits will be seen and felt across the whole region and indeed the country.
“There is a pent-up demand for more manufacturing jobs in our region and especially around this crucial A19 corridor through Sunderland and South Tyneside.”
Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg had invited the two borough councils to bid for the deal at the beginning of 2013 and approved it in March this year.
On Wednesday, Sunderland Council’s cabinet will discussing planning regulations, road designs and land acquisition regarding A19 site.
The aim is for the manufacturing park to be fully completed by 2027.