'Turn iconic Redcar steelworks site into tourist attraction' says mayoral candidate

Could Redcar steelworks be turned into something similar to the Landschaftspark in Germany?Could Redcar steelworks be turned into something similar to the Landschaftspark in Germany?
Could Redcar steelworks be turned into something similar to the Landschaftspark in Germany?
Labour’s candidate for Tees Valley Mayor, Jessie Joe Jacobs, has suggested some of Teesside’s iconic steel structures could be made into a permanent tourist attraction.

Ms Jacobs referenced the ‘Landschaftspark’ in Duisburg-Meiderich, Germany, for inspiration.

The public park is closely associated with a coal and steel plant that went before it and puts many old industrial structures to new use.

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Plans to redevelop the ‘Teesworks’ site at Redcar, which formerly housed the SSI steel plant, are set to see a number of structures demolished including the blast furnace and coke ovens.

Redcar steelworksRedcar steelworks
Redcar steelworks

But support is growing to retain some buildings, including the imposing Dorman Long Tower, which was originally used to store coal for the coke process.

Ms Jacobs said members of the public had “massively engaged” with the idea after she posted it on her Facebook page.

She said: “It is imperative to create the right environment for future business and employment and of course we can’t live in the past. We absolutely need to regenerate the site to bring new industry and quality jobs, but surely we can still treat our steel heritage with the care and respect it deserves.

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“Other places across the globe such as Landschaftspark, in Germany, which is now a world famous tourist attraction, have found ways to protect their heritage while creating jobs and a future for the area. We must explore all options.”

Jessie Joe JacobsJessie Joe Jacobs
Jessie Joe Jacobs

Current Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen has said he wants to hear from former steelworkers and residents in Redcar and further afield about how they want to recognise and preserve the history and heritage of the steelworks.

Guided bus tours are being organised of the site before demolition works begin next year.

Ms Jacobs said: “The original plans for the site included exploring saving the historic structures, such as the blast furnace ovens and Dorman Long Tower, as cultural landmarks and we should be having this debate and including the public and former workers, for whom it is part of their history.

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“I plan to hold a consultation with a view to saving those with value.”

Councillor Carl Quartermain, the leader of the Labour group on Redcar and Cleveland Council, said in a blog post that the most important thing is to give people a say.

Coun Quartermain said the blast furnace should certainly be a “contender for a monument of a proud past”.

He said: “It could be somewhere to be to be lit up with pride, just as other blast furnaces have been across the world and it would look spectacular for miles around. This borough does have some experience of illumination on a grand scale such as the impressive Odin’s Glow event in 2009 at Newton-under-Roseberry and Roseberry Topping.


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James Mitchinson