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Public coach tours around the Teesworks site have been postponed until further notice as the UK continues to be subject to national lockdown restrictions.
The tours, to give people a chance to see the former SSI steelworks site before it is redeveloped as part of the UK’s largest industrial zone, were initially rescheduled from October last year to March this year to help protect public safety in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.
Due to current restrictions, including ensuring the public avoids any unnecessary travel, they have been postponed once again.
The announcement came as Prime Minister Boris Johnson laid out his plans for a routemap to relaxing the rules, and it is hoped the tours can go ahead as soon as it is possible and safe to carry them out, in line with the latest Government guidance.
Thousands of people have signed up to visit the site, which is currently undergoing a £393million, 12-month demolition and remediation programme that will create 775 good-quality jobs as the site is made ready for investors.
Those affected by this move will be contacted in the coming days with more information about the postponement.
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “Throughout the last 11 months my two overriding priorities have been safeguarding the health and wellbeing of people from across Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool and protecting the business and livelihoods of local people.
“Unfortunately the current situation with the coronavirus pandemic has meant that we have once again taken the decision to delay the start of these coach tours. We didn’t want to be in this position, as I know that lots of people from across Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool has been looking forward to coming on-site, but public health and wellbeing must remain a priority at this time.
“We had hoped to go forward with them next month and while we’ve been making great strides in getting people vaccinated and slowing the rate of transmission, we still need to follow the guidance and make sure we don’t do anything to jeopardise all the good work that’s been done so far.
“The good news is that today the Prime Minister has given us the most clear indication yet of how and when rules will be relaxed and, coupled with the vaccine rollout, there is light at the end of the tunnel.
“We look forward to welcoming people on to the site to see the massive change it is undergoing as soon as we can. In the meantime, we’re also working on some exciting alternatives to the tour to give as many people as possible the chance to learn more about what we’re doing at Teesworks so watch this space.”