A PROPOSED new business park on the outskirts of Darlington town centre could create thousands of new jobs, The Northern Echo can reveal.

Plans have been submitted for the build of a new business park, known as Symmetry Park, on land to the east of Lingfield Point, which Darlington Borough Council say has the potential to create 3,000 jobs.

The Northern Echo understands a major international retailer is in talks with developer DB Symmetry to occupy the site, which could be ready for use as early as April 2019.

The Northern Echo:

Darlington MP Jenny Chapman described the development as a “game changer” for the area, whilst Darlington Borough Council leader Bill Dixon said the announcement proved the town was “open for business”.

The business park, which will cover in excess of 94 acres, will feature more than 1.6 million sq ft of employment space - the equivalent of around 25 football pitches.

There will be enough space across the site to park 900 cars, 130 HGVs, 40 motorcycles and 100 bicycles.

Plans for a bus terminus, a 60-bed hotel and space for a pub and restaurant are also included for the business park, which will be accessed via an entrance point from the eastern transport corridor.

DB Symmetry confirmed the site is the largest they had worked on in the North-East.

Cllr Dixon said the new development was “absolutely fantastic news” for Darlington.

“This a hugely significant for Darlington – the jobs created will be high value jobs," he said.

“The jobs will go to local people – the size of the workforce means that is absolutely guaranteed.

“This development could have gone anywhere in the North-East, but the council played to its strengths.

“It has been a fight and a long battle, but it came to Darlington."

Ms Chapman added: “It is good to see investors recognise Darlington as a great location to set up their business.

“This is a substantial development on a vacant site that has the capacity of providing thousands of jobs for local people - it has the potential to be a game changer for Darlington.

“Darlington is brilliantly located on the A1 and east coast mainline - it is a fantastic place to live and work.

“My hope is local people can take advantage of these new jobs and continue to enjoy living in the town.”

Cllr Dixon added: “We have already got long established businesses in the town, fantastic road and rail links, and it will be particularly good for the young people in Darlington.

“We know there is a problem with youth unemployment that needs addressing, and this will help to do that.”

Planning documents submitted about the development state: “Fundamentally, the proposal will result in significant investment in Morton Park and encourage sustainable economic growth in Darlington.

“It is considered that the proposed development could act as a stimulus to the local economy, creating significant new employment and associated economic benefit."

Simon Dixon, development director at DB symmetry, said: “There is a chronic shortage of high quality, strategically located storage and distribution schemes available in the North East.

"We will be liaising closely with all stakeholders to implement a masterplan which will sit well within the area."