Teesworks joint venture company created to provide power to tenants was set up without any written record

A joint venture company was set up between the Ben Houchen-chaired South Tees Development Corporation (STDC) and private property developers without any written record or correspondence between the parties involved.

Last month The Yorkshire Post revealed a private company named Steel River Energy Ltd had been set up by STDC with Chris Musgrave and Martin Corney - the property developers who lead the private investment in Teesworks Ltd.

It can now be revealed the company was set up without any formal meetings or written correspondence between the public and private partners.

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The energy company was set up in August to distribute high voltage power to tenants at the Teesworks site via a yet-to-be-built private wire network.

Teesworks near Redcar. Picture taken by Yorkshire Post Photographer Simon HulmeTeesworks near Redcar. Picture taken by Yorkshire Post Photographer Simon Hulme
Teesworks near Redcar. Picture taken by Yorkshire Post Photographer Simon Hulme

The company’s registration documents with Companies House show a 90-10 split between the private and public partners, with STDC taking a 10 per cent share of the company. Teesworks Ltd was initially a 50-50 share between the public and private sector, but controversially became 90 per cent privately-owned in November 2021.

A freedom of information (FOI) request by The Yorkshire Post to Tees Valley Combined Authority (TVCA) - the authority which runs STDC and is led by Conservative mayor Ben Houchen - asked for “All correspondence between TVCA/STDC officers and/or officials and Martin Corney and Chris Musgrave and/or their companies and/or representatives thereof, in relation to Steel River Energy Limited,” and also asked for “Information of all meetings or calls (eg via Microsoft Teams or Zoom), between the above parties in relation to Steel River Energy Limited. I.e. dates and information of any such meetings, agendas, minutes taken etc.”

TVCA’s official response was that they “do not hold any relevant information. Searches have been conducted for emails and documentation and returned zero results.”

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When asked to clarify the result of the FOI request, spokesperson for TVCA said: “We've nothing further to add to the information previously provided on this.”

Chris Musgrave and Martin Corney were pictured alongside Lord Houchen with British Steel executives this week in Lackenby, near Redcar, as the steel company announced plans to demolish its blast furnaces and install new electric arc furnaces, including one on Teesside.

Referring to Musgrave and Corney, Lord Houchen said: “This project would not have happened without our Joint Venture partners, who have been essential in delivering this once-in-a-generation investment.”

Sources close to the project have told The Yorkshire Post plans for the furnace will see it drawing electricity from the Teesworks private wire network. The source of power for the network is yet to be confirmed, although plans for a waste-to-energy incinerator at Teesworks have stalled after a failure to secure funding from central government earlier this year.

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If successful, the project, known as the Tees Valley Energy Recovery Facility (TV ERF) will see waste from seven local councils across the North East, including Newcastle, incinerated to generate power. Despite the temporary halt to the project, TV ERF insists a commencement date of service in April 2026.

Teesworks did not respond to a request for comment.