By Martin Walker
A wide-reaching vision for County Durham which could see the town’s business park become the biggest in the North-East is set for approval.
A report to Durham County Council’s cabinet next Wednesday (19th March) says the blueprint for housing and jobs across the county up to 2030 should get the nod.
But the County Plan must be signed off by Government, before adoption later this year.
As part of the plan, which is designed to improve overall economic performance, the local authority has earmarked a whopping 123 hectares of potential employment land in Newton Aycliffe that could be developed for industrial and retail space.
If delivered, it could make Aycliffe Business Park, currently home to 250 companies and about 8,500 employees, bigger than Team Valley in Gateshead, currently home to an estimated 700 companies and 20,000 people including the Metro Centre.
The plan also includes the building of 10,000 new homes in the South Durham area, 2,000 of which would be in Aycliffe, which would also significantly boost the town’s population.
Final consultation on the County Durham Plan received nearly 4,000 comments from more than 1,200 people and 116 organisations.
If it gets the go-ahead, it goes to Government for independent examination and could be adopted by 2015.
Cllr Neil Foster, Cabinet member for economic development, said: “We welcome the positive feedback and appreciate the time everyone has taken to give us their comments.
“This is a hugely important document and we look forward to it getting the formal go-ahead and are ready to make sure it is implemented over the next few years.
“The aim is to set the framework for a vibrant and prosperous County Durham where people want to live, work, invest and visit.
“We believe that the proposals we are putting forward represent the best and most effective way of delivering growth for our communities.”
Under the plan, new homes will be built in the following Aycliffe areas:
- Short-term: Low Copelaw (950 homes), Congreve Terrace (30 homes), Cobblers Hall (227 homes).
- Medium-term: South of Agnew Plantation (120 homes), Eldon Whins (350 homes), North of Travellers Green (50 homes).
- Long-term: Woodham Community College (120 homes).
It also identifies four prestige employment sites that could be delivered on Aycliffe Business Park, which are:
- Merchant Park (34.5 hectares)
- Newton Park (48ha)
- Aycliffe Business Park North (18.7ha)
- Aycliffe Business Park South (22ha)
The aim is to submit the plan to Government by April 2014, followed by public examination in July and adoption by December this year.