BUSES are to return to Teesside Shopping Park from today, more than six months after commercial operators pulled the plug on the last daytime service.

Since then, Stockton Borough Council says it has been working to find ways of restoring a service to the Tees Valley's biggest retail park, off the A66.

An agreement has been reached with local bus operator Alright Travel to run half-hourly buses from Stockton High Street and Middlesbrough town centre throughout the day.

The plans have won widespread support, not only from the Department for Transport, but also from local MP Dari Taylor, along with the University of Durham, whose Queen's Campus is on the planned route.

British Land, the owner of Teesside Shopping Park, has also worked on the reinstatement of the bus service.

The first service 66 bus will leave Stockton High Street at 7.40am, Mondays to Saturdays, running via Thornaby rail station, Teesdale and Durham University's Queen's Campus.

A separate route X66 will link Middlesbrough with the shopping park from 7.20am. Both services will run every 30 minutes throughout the day.

The council-subsidised Boroughbus routes 520 and 526 serve Teesside Park during the evenings and weekends.

Councillor Bob Cook, the borough council's cabinet member for regeneration and transport, said: "This will help shoppers and make a huge difference to those seeking employment at Teesside Park, but have to travel there without a car.

"At present, more than 1,000 people work at Teesside Park, and now they will have the option to use a more environmentally-friendly form of transport.

"Our thanks are due to the Department for Transport, the retail park owners and employers along the route who, along with local MP Dari Taylor, have all pledged support to the plans to restore the service."