Expansion plans face legal bid

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A LEISURE development worth £24million which could generate 500 new jobs has been hit by a legal challenge.

Planning permission for the phase two of Dalton Park in Murton, was granted to owners ING Real Estates almost a year ago.

The plans include a five-screen cinema, hotel, restaurants, a large supermarket and a petrol station.

Now, Salford Estates, which owns Castle Dene shopping centre in Peterlee, has filed a legal objection to Durham County Council’s decision to grant the permission, which could delay the scheme by several months.

The objection comes after Salford and Tesco, which is taking over the former East Durham College site off Essington Way and Burnhope Way, also in Peterlee, were also given the go-ahead for supermarkets at the same meeting.

Both firms had objected to the Murton plan on the basis it would be an out-of-town development, and Salford also said its scheme would not be viable if the others were approved.

Planning officers also recommended refusal.

But, councillors backed the three schemes, turning down a fourth from Morrisons, which wanted to open a store near Peterlee town centre, and said the Dalton Park extension would give the area’s economy a welcome boost.

Grahame Morris, MP for Easington, said: “I am very disappointed. There will now be a considerable time delay.”