Plans to create a £140m business park with the potential to create up to 3,200 jobs have been approved.
Forrest Park (Newton Aycliffe) has secured outline planning permission to develop a 55-hectare site located at the southeast of the town for commercial and manufacturing use.
A 60-bed hotel, a public house, a roadside restaurant and retail units have been added to the business park scheme, which will see the creation of 1.75m square feet of business, industrial, warehouse and trade units.
The development will extend Aycliffe Business Park to become the largest in the North and has the potential to create up to 3,200 jobs and boost County Durham’s economy by almost half a billion pounds over the next 20 years.
Durham County Council’s county planning committee followed planning officers’ recommendations and approved the scheme at a meeting this week.
A joint venture by the council and the Forrest family, supported by commercial property developer Richardson Barberry, Forrest Park has already attracted international attention.
Earlier this year it was featured in a property portfolio, launched by the Department for International Trade, to showcase the wide array of opportunities on offer in the UK to foreign investors.
It was one of just 11 projects chosen to demonstrate Britain’s strengths in key sectors, from manufacturing and green energy production, to tourism, business and housing.
Cllr Simon Henig, leader of Durham County Council, said: “I am delighted plans for Forrest Park have been approved. This is an opportunity for us to attract new businesses to County Durham, creating thousands of high-quality jobs and boosting the local economy.
“This is not just about investing in today; it is about creating an environment where businesses can flourish, and future generations of residents can access exciting opportunities and enjoy rewarding careers near to where they live.”
Jonathan Robinson, Barberry developments director, said: “The approval of the Forrest Park planning application is major news for the North East.
“Richardson Barberry, working alongside Durham County Council, the Forrest family and the Local Enterprise Partnership, has a vision to create a business park that provides a wide range of high-quality accommodation which will attract local, regional, national and international occupiers, stimulating economic growth and new jobs for the region.
“We now have a prominent motorway-connected, serviced and consented site ready for development, and are excited at the prospect of delivering one of the North East’s premier business parks.”
Last year, planning permission was granted to improve access to the site. These major highways, signalisation, drainage and power upgrades have already been completed, including the creation of a new traffic light-controlled junction on the A167.