New industrial units will be built to help boost a County Durham town’s ongoing redevelopment.

Durham County Council approved plans for the new site in Bishop Auckland at a cabinet meeting on Wednesday. 

The new units, at South Church Enterprise Park, will be aimed at new and small businesses and is in response to the rising demand in the region, the local authority said. 

Councillor Elizabeth Scott, cabinet member for economy, said the plans are a key part of the council’s renovation ambitions for Bishop Auckland. 

“There’s currently a shortage of industrial units in the county and it’s restricting the growth of new and existing companies. Demand is consistently outstripping supply,” she said. 

The Liberal Democrat councillor added: “That shortage is particularly acute in the Bishop Auckland area, and we’re in a position to do something about it. Developing these new units will go some way to meeting pent-up demand and will support more than 20 businesses and more than 110 jobs.

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“We’ve made the development of high-quality premises on employment sites one of the main priorities of our Inclusive Economic Strategy after businesses told us finding suitable premises that are central and accessible is a challenge.”

The £8.5million project will be funded by £1.5million from the government’s Stronger Towns Fund and £1.8million from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, with the remainder being committed by the council. The cost of the council’s contribution will be met by the future rental income generated from the completed units.

The latest investment was praised by cllr Mark Wilkes, a member of the coalition in charge of running the authority. He said: “The work this council is doing to grow our county is unparalleled to what came before us, and shows this Joint Administration is investing in every part of our county to boost employment.”