A NEW £5million hotel development on a former steelworks site has been hailed as a statement of confidence in the regeneration of a town.

Plans for a 65-bed hotel in Genesis Way, Consett, were approved by a Durham County Council planning committee on Thursday.

The Ponds Court scheme, which is opposite Tesco, would also have a function area, bar, lounge and dining area as well as a fitness room.

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Consett county councillor Alex Watson said: “It’s a super development for Consett. It’s a huge statement of confidence in the regeneration of the area.

“It sends out the right message and it’s going to bring wealth to the economy.”

He added: “We’re talking about quite a number of jobs. Consett was described as a boom town which is a statement of where we are going.

“In the next five years there are quite a few developments coming into the area.

“It’s tremendous and I’m really delighted that such a hotel is going to happen.”

Planners had recommended that the hotel was approved, saying the development would drive the ongoing regeneration of Consett and has the potential to create demand from business and leisure users.

Visit County Durham, which promotes tourism from the area, also welcomed the scheme saying it will add to market demand and will be facility for people in the town as well as visitors.

The application was submitted by Project Genesis, the trust formed to regenerate the former industrial area following the closure of the steel plant in 1980.

The three-storey hotel has been designed with a modern style, aimed at “making an impact”, with a variety of sloping roofs.

It will also have a car park with 71 spaces and would be accessed via the existing junction on Ponds Court.

Two people had written to the council to object to the proposals, with concerns raised about increased night traffic and noise pollution.

A statement by MD2, the planning consultant employed on behalf of applicants Project Genesis, said: “The object is to provide an attractive, interesting, modern design which will create a successful, popular building which is fully fit for purpose, making best use of the available land and has been designed to fit the setting without impacting adversely upon the local landscape or setting and which will not create any adverse impacts upon neighbouring residential amenity.”

A hotellier has not yet been appointed to run the new venue.