BARGAIN hunters headed to an out-of-town retail park yesterday (Saturday, April 12) for the opening of a new discount store.

Home Bargains is the latest national retailer to set up shop on the Bishop Auckland Retail Park, in St Helen Auckland, County Durham.

The £500,000 investment has created around 40 jobs and is in addition to the existing Home Bargains Store in Bishop Auckland town centre.

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In recent years, the retail park has been criticised by town centre traders who fear it could destroy their livelihoods.

However, the Mayor of Bishop Auckland, Councillor David Fleming, who attended the opening, said he believed there was a place for both sites.

“I wish Home Bargains every success for the future,” said Coun Fleming.

“I am particularly pleased to know the town centre store will remain open.

"I believe, in the future, we will find the market place remains the culture heart of Bishop Auckland but St Helen Auckland could become the commercial centre of the town.

“There are a lot of exciting plans in store surrounding Auckland Castle and I am sure this will have a positive impact on the shops and businesses in the town centre.”

Home Bargains sells branded products, including homeware, toiletries, sweets, snacks and drinks, at low prices at more than 300 branches across the country.

The new 15,000 sq ft store will be one of the retailer’s largest outlets.