Below is my latest correspondence to the Chancellor as I continue to lobby for the proposed Campus of the North to come to Middlesbrough.
RE Campus for the North- Back the Boro Bid.
I write to you once more as we head towards the Budget and the possible announcement of the location for the Campus of the North and with it up to 1,000 Whitehall jobs.
In my previous representations to you, I have explained why I truly believe Middlesbrough Town Centre is the best possible option for the location of the Campus.
In Centre Square in the heart of Middlesbrough adjacent to our beautiful Victorian Town Hall and to one of the North’s leading galleries namely MIMA, there already exists the development space and a settled Masterplan offering first class grade A office accommodation with all the associated economic benefits that a town centre location provides, not forgetting its proximity to our magnificent Teesside University.
In addition, there is the further town centre location at the Middlehaven site around Middlesbrough Dock which as well being overlooked by the iconic and world-famous Transporter Bridge and ringed by the striking architecture of our wonderful Middlesbrough College as well the home of the Boro, Middlesbrough FC’s Riverside Stadium.
Either location, Centre Square or Middlehaven, would be ideal for such a development. They are both are eminently suitable and both sites are easily capable of providing the capacity that will be required with room to spare.
The Centre Square proposition benefits from its ‘shovel-ready’ stage of planning and preparation and I would encourage and urge you to look very closely at the immediate opportunity that Middlesbrough can offer. Middlehaven could very quickly be brought up to the same state of readiness.
As a neighbouring MP yourself, you know all too well of the terrific amenities that Middlesbrough and the Tees Valley offers our constituents and for those who, together with their families, come and settle and where they receive the warmest of welcomes.
We of course not only have immediate access to the beauty of the Dales and Moors but also our magnificent beaches, including the surfer’s paradise at Saltburn, within minutes of Middlesbrough Town Centre. I am firmly of the view that Middlesbrough would be an extremely popular and successful location for all concerned.
I have made the economic case for the location of the campus in Middlesbrough on a number of occasions, but I make no apology for stressing it yet again. The Gross Value Added considerations, and the multiplier effect of having hundreds and hundreds of jobs, cheek by jowl with retail, food and beverage, hospitality, commerce and arts and leisure, is well documented. And every leading authority, every recognised academic on such matters agrees that a town/city centre location delivers the best economic return.
The Middlesbrough Town Centre location option has universal support right across the business community, not just in Middlesbrough but across the wider region. I would very much like you to hear directly from the members of the business community and they can explain for themselves why they are so enthusiastic at the prospect of such an investment, and expression of confidence, being made in Middlesbrough
A decision to locate in Middlesbrough will of course directly speak to your Government’s “levelling up” agenda and “Building Back Better” and there is no better opportunity to implement those policies and demonstrate their real application.
Such a decision will undoubtedly provide the people across the Tees Valley with high quality career opportunities both directly and indirectly. It will act as a catalyst for many, many other businesses to start up and grow.
I am delighted that myself and the Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen both agree that Tees Valley should be the preferred location for these jobs.
It is my view, that with Middlesbrough being the commercial and economic heart of the Tees Valley, it presents the best proposition not just for Teesside but the choice for the country. For all the reasons I have brought to you over the past 12 months, it is clear Middlesbrough stands uppermost on its own merits and warrants your approval and confirmation as the location for the Campus.
I realise that current restrictions on face-to-face meetings do not make for the easiest of conversations but I would welcome the opportunity to discuss this matter with you at the earliest convenience in further detail so that I can set out in further detail how ready we are in Middlesbrough to seize this opportunity.