A DECISION on a long-awaited £14m cinema plan is expected shortly.

Proposals for the multi-screen cinema and leisure complex of bulky goods retailers and restaurants on waste ground next to the West Auckland bypass, in St Helen Auckland, Bishop Auckland, have been submitted to Durham County Council.

The outline application is likely to go before members of the planning committee before Christmas.

A planning document on behalf of developer Land Planning Partnership, which is behind the scheme, states: “The proposed development scheme demonstrates a comprehensive albeit master plan of this area, cohesive with the adjacent developments.

“The development will help the sustainability of the already completed leisure, retail, hotel and food developments adjacent to the site.

“The proposal will introduce new employment opportunities for a large number of none skilled through to professional workers.”

West Auckland Councillor Rob Yorke said the development would provide the cinema people had been waiting for since the last one closed 30 years ago.

“The cinema is badly needed and can only add value to what we already have,” he said. “The retail units will also be for bulky goods so there shouldn’t be a conflict of interests with businesses moving out of the town centre.”