QUESTIONS have been raised over the current state of play regarding the Britishvolt site at Cambois in Northumberland.

The prime site has been earmarked for a gigafactory, producing electric vehicle batteries and creating thousands of jobs in southeast Northumberland, both onsite and in the supply chain.

However, progress with the project has been stalled for some time after Britishvolt, the company set up to deliver the factory, went into administration in January.

Hope re-emerged when a buyer was found for the site in the form of Australian company Recharge Industries. However, fresh doubts arose in the summer when it emerged Recharge had not paid the final instalment in an £8.6m deal to buy Britishvolt out of administration.

The company said it hoped to complete a deal by August – but top council officers have this week confirmed the transaction has not been completed.

It followed questions raised by Stocksfield’s long-serving Independent councillor Anne Dale at a meeting of the council’s audit committee on Wednesday.

Cllr Dale took issue with a section of the council’s statement of accounts, which said Britishvolt had been “acquired” by Recharge.

She said: “The reference is in the statement of accounts. ‘Recharge Industries have acquired Britishvolt and are now in the process of securing the major development funding required to construct the gigafactory and install equipment’.

“It goes on to say ‘to successfully achieve this, Recharge Industries have requested the council issue a deed of variation on the call option which forms part of the sale agreement on the land at Northumberland Enterprise Park’.

“We need to have clarification as to whether that is correct?”

Responding, the council’s finance officer Jan Willis said: “The current position is Recharge have acquired a number of Britishvolt assets from the administrator. I don’t believe that transaction has been completed yet and there is a charge on the site.

“But, the enabling works have been completed so that is factually correct. Recharge have acquired the assets of Britishvolt and are seeking to secure the funding.

“It is unclear what happens next but I think the statement is pretty factual. However, as you have raised it, we will have some further discussions as to whether the wording should be amended.

“I don’t think there is anything that I would want to replace that wording with at the present time – I haven’t got anything to replace it with.”