Sainsbury’s and Domino’s Pizza will open new stores at a Peterlee retail park, after plans for the new site were approved. 

The national chains will open at the former Evans Halshaw car showroom, on Passfield Way, alongside Cooplands Bakery, The Tanning Shop and new vets. 

The plans include redeveloping the existing empty building on the site and converting it into three units, while also building a separate three-unit building. 

Almscliffe Dhesi Developments, the applicant, said it hoped to build the development as there is a demand for a neighbourhood-style convenience centre in the nearby area.

“[It] will have significant benefits for the residents of Peterlee by enhancing the retail offer there,” a statement added. “One major benefit is that it will bring a vacant brownfield site back into use.” 

Residents said the site is the wrong location for the development and is too close to the nearby schools, which are 400m metres away. A planning meeting heard how the application was likely to fail if it wasn’t part of a mixed-use facility due to the proximity to the school. 

Durham County Council’s planning department received 52 letters supporting the scheme and 19 objections. 

Other objections said it would have a negative impact on Peterlee town centre and will force people to go to Sunderland or Hartlepool to shop. 

The Northern Echo: The current site of the former Evans Halshaw car showroom on Passfield WayThe current site of the former Evans Halshaw car showroom on Passfield Way (Image: Google)

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Cllr Charlie Kay, who spoke against the proposal, said: “Are there no other vacant fast food outlets in the centre of Peterlee? I find that hard to believe.”

Among the supporters was Peterlee West cllr Louise Fenwick, who said: “The site’s been derelict for three years, it doesn’t look very nice. To have that developed will enhance the town and create jobs. I can’t think of anything negative about it.” 

Councillors were told the derelict site has become an eyesore and the new development would breathe new life into the forgotten area.