MORE than 2,000 jobs are expected to be created as work begins on a new industrial estate in Darlington.

The 40-hectare site is being built on Salters Lane in Darlington near to the existing Cummins engine factory off Yarm Road and is close to a number of engineering firms.

Around £5m will be spent on the construction of Ingenium Parc by the Tees Valley Combined Authority and the Department for Transport.

The first phase hopes to create 1,000 jobs by 2021 while longer-term estimates hope for a complete workforce of 2,000 staff on the site.

Cllr Stephen Harker, leader of Darlington Borough Council said: “Ingenium Parc will create high-quality industrial employment opportunities for the next generation - it will be an excellent addition to support Darlington’s growing economy. The site is well placed for access to the motorway network and will provide opportunities for our skilled workforce.

“We’re well aware of the importance of the site for its biodiversity and we’ve gone to great lengths to mitigate against any impact.

“The masterplan for the development includes enhanced habitats and green infrastructure to ensure that industry sits seamlessly alongside nature,” Cllr Harker added.

Phase one will include improvements to the Yarm Road roundabout with the introduction of two lanes into its approach, a new access road and cycle path links.

It is expected the first plots will be available for businesses from 2019.

Cllr Chris McEwan, deputy leader of Darlington Borough Council and cabinet member for Economy and Regeneration said: “I think Ingenium Parc has been a long time in the planning, and a development like this with specialised, skilled and advanced engineering is really welcoming.”

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “I’m delighted yet another project we’ve helped fund has seen spades in the ground this year.

"Companies looking to make the Tees Valley their home, and also our successful growing businesses, are crying out for the sort of high-quality industrial space Ingenium Parc will provide.

“This will be another string to Darlington’s bow, giving brilliant opportunities for even more inward investment, job creation and economic growth, not just for the town, but for the wider Tees Valley.”