Expansion plans back in business

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A PLAN to add a £50million extension to an industrial estate has been resurrected after developers moved a step forward to making it a reality.

Permission to convert the former Philips Components site on Belmont Industrial Estate and add new offices and extra parking was approved in 2007.

Now developer Mandale has been given the go-ahead for new proposals which have extended the amount of time it has to carry out the work.

The expansion could create up to 2,000 jobs and would increase the size of Belmont Business Park eightfold, with 720 more parking spaces to be made available.

The new permission, which is linked to land boarded by the A690 and the A1(M), will last for three years.

The first phase of the revamp has been completed, but the second wave of work was halted because of road improvements needed to help the area deal with the additional traffic generated by the offices.

Mandale made the application as negotiations continue with highways chiefs, who said they were satisfied with the extension to the project as long as the conditions binding action over changes to the roads remained.

They involve £2million worth of improvements, with £1.2million to the A1(M) junction 62 at Belmont and Carrville.

A further £700,000 project would need to be carried out on the A690 Belmont sliproad, Broomside Lane roundabout and the industrial estate’s traffic-light controlled entrance.

The Highways Agency, which is in charge of the A1(M), has allowed the firm to build 19,000sq metres of offices before beginning the motorway improvements, with the final decision over the local roads with Durham County Council.

Its planners have said it hopes the road issue will be resolved soon.

Phase one of the plan includes 4,600sq metres of offices, a cafe and 200 parking spaces.

The Philips factory, which produced tubes for televisions, closed in 2005 with the loss of 750 jobs.