Bargain hunters could be shopping at a new branch of discount supermarket Lidl by summer next year.
The German retailer had plans for a new store in Gilesgate, opposite Tesco Extra, in Dragon Lane, approved this week.
The chain will be joined on the site by homewares shop the Range after the scheme was given the green light by members of Durham County Council’s area planning committee.
But concerns have been raised about the extra traffic it could bring to an already congested part of the city – despite a recommendation for applicant Dragon Lane LLP to provide £175,000 towards a ‘Retail Park Relief Road’, linking McIntyre Way with Damson Way and Sherburn Road.
Speaking at the meeting, Coun David Freeman said: “This would improve a run-down area, but there’s an existing traffic problem.
“This would be worse if these shops open without the relief road.”
Pollution was also raised, as the proposed entrance to the site - which has space for 272 cars - is less than 500m from the Durham City Air Quality Management Area (AQMA).
The AQMA was declared in 2011 due to high levels of nitrogen dioxide and extended in 2014 to run from the junction of Sunderland Road and Dragon Lane in Gilesgate, to Milburngate Bridge.
There was also concern about potential knock-on effects for businesses based in Durham City centre, but speaking on behalf of the applicant, Jeremy Williams, of ID Planning, told councillors this would not be the case.
He also said the stores could create about 110 jobs and be open by summer 2019.
The idea was floated of attaching a condition requiring the relief road to be completed before construction of the shops could begin.
But the council’s legal officer advised panel members the applicant would probably be able to have this repealed.
Councillors voted 6-4 in favour of the scheme.
James Harrison, Local Democracy Reporting Service