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Dubai visitor to see plans.

Arrangements are being finalised for a September visit to the Tees Valley by His Excellency Mohamed Ali Alabbar, Dubai's economic development minister.

The minister is also chairman of EMAAR, one of the world's biggest development companies.

And he will be shown the radical plans unveiled this week for Middlesbrough's Middlehaven.

His Excellency said he wanted to visit the Tees Valley after a meeting last December in Dubai with Middlesbrough's Mayor, Ray Mallon.

It is expected His Excellency will meet Prime Minister Tony Blair in his Sedgefield constituency.

Mr Mallon said: "We have had discussions in the past week with His Excellency Mohamed Ali Alabbar and the Prime Minister's Office and it appears we are on target for a September visit. We are at an advanced stage in relation to the planning for the visit and the areas he will visit."

It is expected the minister will be given a bird's eye view of the Tees Valley from a helicopter.

As well as Middlehaven he will also be shown development opportunities such as Stockton's North Bank.

* Local MPs have welcomed the prospect of development taking place on the Middlehaven site.

Middlesbrough MP Sir Stuart Bell said: "It is time Teesside caught up with Tyneside.

"This is a first major move in this direction and it is incumbent on us all - local authorities MPs and other representatives - to be sure it works."

Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland MP Ashok Kumar said this week's announcement on Middlehaven was welcome news.

"It is real plans being put into effect.

"It is important that the impetus from this spreads throughout the Tees Valley and we look to regeneration of many of the old industrial areas that have been an eyesore for too long."
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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Jul 24, 2004
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