THE masterplan for a multi-million pound business park which could create up to 20,000 jobs in the region was unveiled last night.

The development at Wynyard Business Park, which is being pioneered by North-East business figurehead Sir John Hall, will include office buildings between 1,000 and 400,000sq ft, designed to provide space for growing local businesses or established national and international business.

With good road links, being close to the A19 and A1, it is hoped Wynyard will attract more big-name employers to the region.

The masterplan for the first 220 acres of the 500-acre business park was launched yesterday. Work has started this month on the first office block at the entrance of the park, which will provide more than 50,000 sq ft of offices.

Construction group Bowmer and Kirkland, based in Sunderland, won the £5m contract to build the first offices at the site, next to the former Samsung factory.

Bowmer is providing employment for about 100 people during the build and it is hoped the first building will be finished by June next year.

Sir John, the driving force behind Gateshead's MetroCentre, and a former chairman of Newcastle United Football Club, is behind the business park.

The masterplan will retain much of the existing landscaping on the park to give it a countryside feel.

The first building is being developed speculatively by Wynyard Business Park itself until it can drum up more investment and attract interested parties.

Paul Brown, development director at Wynyard, said, "The launch of the masterplan is a major step for Wynyard Business Park, as it takes our dream of creating a world-class business park in the North-East one step closer.

"The masterplan shows our vision for Wynyard and the mix of businesses that we envisage on site. We at Wynyard are very much looking forward to taking this plan and creating a reality that will benefit the entire North-East region.

"Work starting on site on our first office block is also a major step for us and proves our intention to develop this site in the short-term.

"The business park as a whole will take decades to mature and fully realise its potential, but this first step shows just how exciting that potential will be."

Sir John's vision of the business park is based on a US model of creating a place where people can "live, work and play".

Samsung sold its 207-acre site, which is next to Wynyard Business Park, to North-East businessman Chris Musgrave when it moved out of the region.

Mr Musgrave has dubbed his neighbouring park Wynyard One. In the short-term, Wynyard Business Park is expected to create at least 5,000 jobs, and up to 20,000 over the next 20 years.

The Samsung factory closed in April with the loss of 425 jobs.