A NEW hospital, hotel and a micro-brewery could all be heading to a former industrial site after ‘no brainer’ plans were approved by councillors.

About 3,500 jobs were lost when the Consett’s former steel works shut down in 1980, but the proposals mark the latest stage of the regeneration of the site.

The decision means the land south of the Puddlers Corner roundabout could also now become the base for a new health facility, pending an NHS decision on the future of Shotley Bridge Hospital.

Durham County Councillor John Shuttleworth, who represents Weardale, said: “This application is not finely balanced, it is a no brainer.

“It is what the people of Consett want and deserve, there’s much economic benefit and improved social benefits from new health care facilities.

“Although, it is also perhaps a bit presumptive of the applicant to presume the development decision of the [NHS], but it is also believed this is the preferred site of most of the community.”

Cllr Shuttleworth was speaking at Tuesday’s meeting of the council’s County Planning Committee.

He spoke on behalf of Leadgate and Medomsley Councillor Alan Shield, who had to leave the session due to a conflict of interest.

The ‘outline’ application, which will need a second, more detailed, version to be approved before construction can start, paves the way for a range of uses for the site, including a gym, pub, hotel, micro-brewery, veterinary practice, pharmacy and care home.

Just one letter of objection was submitted to the county council, raising concerns about traffic and loss of green space used by dog walkers.

The plans were submitted by Project Genesis, the organisation set up to redevelop the former steel works site, following its closure.

Since then Project Genesis has overseen projects such as Fawcett Park, the Tesco store which opened in 2013 and Derwentside College’s base on the site, which opened in 2002.

Mike Clark, development director at Project Genesis, said: “We think it’s well located for the purposes put forward and we believe it doesn’t conflict with town centre uses and will add to the town centre by way of regeneration.”