Land for Â£90m business park for Sunderland and South Tyneside 'to be under council control by 2020'
Sunderland City Council has insisted the land needed for a Â£90million-plus business park will be under its control by 2020.
The International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP), which will be based on the border of Sunderland and South Tyneside, could create more than 5,000 jobs.
It will be located near to the Nissan manufacturing plant, close to the A19, with the initiative being jointly led by Sunderland City Council and South Tyneside Council.
At a meeting of the full Sunderland City Council last night, cabinet secretary Coun Mel Speding was asked for reassurement by Sunderland's Conservative leader Coun Robert Oliver that legal ownership for the site would be secured ahead of 2020.
Coun Speding said: "The council has secured all the land required for IAMP ONE.
"A planning application has been submitted and subject to its approval, our development partner Henry Boot is ready to start on site in the early summer.
"In respect of the legal ownership of land, as I have said, we already own the land for IAMP ONE.
"Whilst there is not the same urgency to acquire the land for IAMP 2, the land in question will be under our control by 2020.
"This is because the Development Consent Order process being applied for this Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project comes with Compulsory Purchase Order powers.
"This means that any land we cannot acquire ahead of the Development Consent Order being determined will be Compulsory Purchased Ordered when the Development Consent Order is approved."
Coun Oliver also asked why part of the IAMP had now gone into South Tyneside "at a cost to Sunderland taxpayers of million of pounds in lost business rates".
Coun Speding replied: "IAMP is and always has been a joint venture partnership between Sunderland City Council and South Tyneside Council and spans the boundary between us.
"The designation as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project, the approved joint Area Action Plan, the successful bid for £42million Local Growth Fund and in fact all plans for IAMP have been developed on this joint basis.
"I’m therefore perplexed why you think part of the site has 'now gone into South Tyneside'."