COUNCIL leaders have approved the sale of TeesAMP to the highest bidder at an unpublished sum.

The manufacturing park on the edge of Riverside Industrial Park in Middlesbrough was valued at £14.5m, but is expected to sell for a “significantly higher” price, according to a council report. Both the recommended buyer and bid have not been shared by the council, for commercial reasons.

The 11-hectare site is fully let to advanced manufacturing businesses and brings in over £1m a year in rental income for the council. It opened in 2020 with financial assistance via a repayable grant from Tees Valley Combined Authority (TVCA) and private investment.

The sale to the highest bidder, approved by Middlesbrough Council’s Executive, also includes undeveloped land of approximately five acres at TeesAMP 2. A council report to the Executive said the sale of TeesAMP will reduce the need to use £4.6m of the £13.6m approved by Government in Exceptional Financial Support, which must be repaid by the council with interest.

Middlesbrough Council is one of 19 local authorities to receive the support to manage financial pressures. It means, the council will have permission to borrow money to fund day-to-day spending in 2024-25 only in a way not usually permitted.

TeesAMP was among the council-owned buildings included in the council’s controversial asset review, agreed by the council’s executive last year. At the time, the review was drawn up in response to “critically low reserves” and a forecast £8.5m overspend against the council’s approved budget for the second quarter of the financial year.

The decision which was subsequently challenged with a “call-in” request by Conservative and Lib Dem councillors with some suggesting it was a “fire sale” of assets. Council bosses argued that without action, the local authority could be forced to issue a S114 notice, effectively declaring itself bankrupt.