A NORTH-EAST businessman is determined to employ as many local workers as possible if a major retirement village gets the go ahead.

Javed Majid has announced that his company Maher Developments has submitted an outline planning application for a retirement village at Mount Leven Farm, Leven Bank Road, Yarm and plans to use local contractors and labour wherever possible.

The development will support about 750 construction jobs during the building phase and at least 100 permanent jobs will be on offer once the scheme is up and running, the company said.

Following feedback from the public the original proposals announced in June to build 450 homes have been scaled back to 350 properties that will consist mainly of one-bedroom and two-bedroom bungalows. Ten per cent will be affordable housing for people working at the site such as care staff, gardeners, cleaners and estate maintenance workers.

The aim is to build a community for older and retired people with buildings constructed to Level 5 of the Code of Sustainable Homes, with social, cultural and leisure facilities. Prices will range from £140,000 to £250,000.

The village will have facilities including a cafe, bar and restaurant, a library, shop, doctors, gym, hair salon and communal lounges. There will also be a computer room, a function room, swimming pool, tennis and badminton courts, a bowling green and allotments.

The company said it will be the first community of its kind on this scale in the UK and will act as a blueprint for the firm and its Middle East investors who hope to create up to 20 such schemes across the country.

Mr Majid who owns Tall Trees Hotel and has recently secured planning permission to build houses and apartments there, said: "I am hugely excited about this development and the benefits for the Tees Valley.

"The North-East has the highest level of unemployment in the country and creating jobs to this level will have a major positive impact on the local and regional economy. This is a massive opportunity and the knock on effect for the supply chain and local retailers will be huge.

"I am absolutely determined that as many of the jobs as possible will go to local people. I want to put something back into the Tees Valley community, which I have lived and worked in for many years, and which has been very good to me, my family and my businesses."