Work to start on £35million leisure park

Jerry Hatch of Dalton Park shopping centre.
Jerry Hatch of Dalton Park shopping centre.
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A SHOPPING centre owner is pressing on with plans to expand with a £35million development after overcoming a legal hurdle from its rival.

Dalton Park in Murton had to hold off from starting work on the leisure plans after the owner of Castle Dene Shopping Centre in Peterlee appealed against Durham County Council’s decision to approve the extension.

Jerry Hatch General Manager at Dalton Park, Murton, with the new brown tourisrt signs shoiwing how to get to the retail park.

Jerry Hatch General Manager at Dalton Park, Murton, with the new brown tourisrt signs shoiwing how to get to the retail park.

Now, after the High Court Judicial review was lost by Salford Estates last month, Dalton Park’s owner ING has announced the scheme will now start under the planning permission granted by Durham Council in March last year.

Construction on the former colliery site will include a food store, a five-screen cinema, restaurant, petrol station, hotel and pub, which could generate in the region of 500 jobs.

The firm has previously said the project would cost £24million, but has confirmed the investment will now top £35million. The work is expected to take a year, with talks ongoing with businesses interested in moving into the buildings once work is complete.

The centre will mark its 10th birthday next month.

Jerry Hatch, is the centre’s general manager of outlets for Knight Frank, which manages the shopping centre.

He said: “This year is going to be a momentous year.

“We’ve already had a strong first quarter with positive sales and new openings and now phase two marks an exciting new decade for us.

“The new scheme will not only enhance our retail offer but will service visitors both locally and regionally.”

Salford Estates, which is owned by parent company Praxis, has been given permission to build its own supermarket as part of the shopping centre in Peterlee, along with a new youth centre and health centre to replace complexes which will have to move to make way to the store.

It objected to the Dalton Park plans and a scheme by Tesco on the former East Durham College site on the corner of Essington Way and Burnhope Way on the grounds those proposals would damage the area’s town centres and it too was taken to a judicial review.

It lost its appeal last September.

Salford has accused the council of “sanctioning a direct commercial attack on the town centre” by agreeing the two other plans.

Planners had recommended refusal of the Dalton Park project because it was an out of town development, but councillors went against that and approved it on the basis it would bring “vitality” to East Durham.

All three shopping schemes will bring a total of 1,600 jobs to the area.