A NEW cluster of blocks on an industrial estate has sailed through planning permission amid hopes to attract more small businesses.

Nine more blocks will be built on the former LG Philips site on Belmont Industrial Estate in Durham.

They will add to similar units already given planning permission in April last year.

The plans have been changed to meet demand for smaller businesses, Durham County Council’s planning committee heard.

Principal planning officer Henry Jones said: “It’s largely surrounded by other industrial and employment land uses.

“There’s already some buildings on there. There’s been planning permissions for different employment uses on the land dating back from around about 2006.

“Originally some of those proposals were more geared towards business office accommodation.

“More latterly with this proposal and the one which got planning permission in April, it’s been more of a move towards your general industrial, storage and distribution classes of development.

“This particular scheme for general industrial, storage and distribution units last got planning permission in a very similar format as recently as April last year.

“The layout has just been amended, principally because of the level of interest which has been shown in smaller form of units has been more significant recently.

“Therefore the variation to the scheme is principally to make sure that the scale of the development is more geared towards that interest rather than the larger warehousing blocks.

“We’ve had no objections from consultees or the public.

“We’ve also received supportive comments from Business Durham acknowledging some of the success which these types of units have had on Belmont Industrial Estate in recent times.

“It’s on land which is allocated and safeguarded for such employment purposes within the County Durham Plan.”

David Marjoram, speaking for developers Mandale Construction, said smaller “hybrid units” had been more popular with smaller businesses and start-ups.

Councillor Craig Martin said: “I just think this is a bit of a cut-and-dried application. The county needs more smaller modern industrial units.

“We need more of these and I really welcome the developer’s move to change these plans and come back to us with smaller units for smaller and medium size businesses and start-ups.”

Officers recommended the plans for approval and councillors passed the plan unanimously.

Keep up to date with all the latest news on our website, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

You can also follow our dedicated County Durham Facebook page for all the latest in the area by clicking here.

For all the top news updates from right across the region straight to your inbox, sign up to our newsletter here.

Have you got a story for us? Contact our newsdesk on newsdesk@nne.co.uk or contact 01325 505054