A DEAL to bring a major international online retailer to Darlington is edging closer.

Earlier this year, The Northern Echo revealed plans had been submitted for the build of a new business park, known as Symmetry Park, on land to the east of Lingfield Point on the outskirts of Darlington town centre.

Planning permission has been granted for the 94-acre site, which will include a three-storey storage and distribution centre, and talks between developer DB Symmetry and the retailer, understood to be online giant Amazon, are ongoing.

The Northern Echo understands talks are progressing well and a deal could be reached in a matter of weeks.

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

The business park will feature more than 1.6 million sq ft of employment space over three floors- the equivalent of around 25 football pitches, and 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.

Chris McEwan, Darlington Borough Council's cabinet member for economy and regeneration, said: "Darlington has seen some significant economic growth among some setbacks, but this site has the potential to create between 2,500 and 3,000 jobs.

"I expect there will be more for the supply chain and support workers not only in Darlington but across the Tees Valley – it, along with the work on Bank Top Station, will reinforce Darlington's position in the region.

“We are seeing significant job opportunities for the people of Darlington - from my perspective, Darlington is batting with the big players.

“To be clear, I believe that we will see a 21st century facility. This is not just going to be a factory, there will be a range of jobs, whether that be on the factory floor, highly skilled technicians or the managerial side.

"There will be a wealth of possibilities for the people of Darlington the Tees Valley and beyond."

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “Symmetry Park is a fantastic opportunity for Darlington and the Tees Valley, with the potential to create thousands of jobs and I would welcome news of any business investment in our region.

“I can’t announce specific company names, but let’s just say what is planned will be completely transformational for our economy.

“We are working on a number of schemes in Darlington to help regenerate the town and make it an even more attractive place to invest.

"Two of my priorities are the £100m transformation of Darlington Station and the creation of a bypass around the town, which I am pushing the Government to fund.”

Planning documents show in granting planning permission, the developer has been asked to contribute almost £500,000 in a Section 106 agreement to fund sustainable transport and road improvements across the town.

This comes after a transport assessment as part of the planning application found the new development would result in an additional 1,000 trips in and out of the site on a morning, and more than 1,100 on an afternoon.

The developer has also pledged to install acoustic fencing around the site, which could be in use 24-hours a day if the site’s occupier desires, to reduce the impact of noise.