Councillors approve supermarket and leisure park plan that could create 1,000 jobs

Dalton Park Phase 2 supporters, Doreen Rennison and Maureen Simpson outside County Hall in Durham earlier this year.
Dalton Park Phase 2 supporters, Doreen Rennison and Maureen Simpson outside County Hall in Durham earlier this year.
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MULTIMILLION-POUND supermarket and leisure park plans look set to deliver a 1,000-plus jobs bonanza.

Councillors yesterday unanimously backed the £24million phase two development at Dalton Park, in Murton, including a supermarket, hotel and cinema.

Approval was also given for two more stores at Peterlee – a Tesco Extra, and another supermarket at Castle Dene shopping centre.

In addition to the 1,400 jobs they will create, each brings additional developments and marks another milestone in the regeneration of the former coalfield.

Durham County Council’s county planning committee went against the recommendations of its officers, and approved the Dalton Park plan on the grounds it would bring “vitality” to the area.

It promises 500-plus jobs though a supermarket, hotel, five-screen cinema, restaurants and petrol station.

Tesco says its new store, on the former East Durham College site in Essington Way, will bring 400 jobs. A library will also be built.

The Dalton Park and Tesco schemes have to be referred to the Government, in case it wants further consideration because they are out-of-town developments.

The third, led by the owners of Castle Dene and yet to attract an operator, could create 500 jobs, and involves building a replacement health surgery and youth centre nearby.

A fourth application, which would have seen a Morrisons open on the former North Blunts Primary School site, and create 350 jobs, was turned down in line with officer recommendations because of its location.

The four decisions were made together because of the impact they will have on East Durham as a whole.

All attracted strong support from residents, with objections raised by each of the developers behind the other schemes.

Asda, which has stores in Seaham and Peterlee, lodged concerns about all but the Castle Dene plan.

Easington MP Grahame Morris, who backed Dalton Park extension and said Peterlee would benefit from another supermarket, said: “I’m delighted, particularly given the committee overturned the recommendations of officers.

“The issue now is whether it’s called in. We don’t want that because it will delay things further.

“Hopefully we can get started on site and see the delivery of these facilities for leisure, the cinema, associated restaurants and supermarket and Peterlee town centre will be regenerated, so it’s good news all round.”

Michael Walton, who campaigned for the first phase of Dalton Park and hopes his daughter Tanya, 17 will find a career through there, said: “I’m delighted, I could cry.

“It’s brilliant news, it’s absolutely fantastic, it’s well deserved, well-wanted and for me, what’s important here is the employment.

“This is not just for Murton, it’s for the whole region.”

Tesco also said it was pleased with the outcome of the meeting and thanked Peterlee for its support, which saw more than 1,200 sign a petition for the company to launch in the town.