COUNCIL chiefs are pressing ahead with plans to attract more businesses to their area.

Their proposal to create new business premises for rent at Colburn, near Richmond, has been given the go ahead by members of Richmondshire District Council.

The £1.5m scheme will provide 16 purpose-built units on the Colburn Business Park, as part of a council-managed facility design-ed to attract digital, hi-tech and e-commerce businesses.

In addition to the £637,000 investment by the district council, the project has been granted £525,000 in European funding and more than £300,000 by the regional development agency, Yorkshire Forward.

The chairman of the council's resources committee, Councillor Wendy Morton, said: "This is a very exciting development, which will greatly enhance the council's portfolio of quality managed workspace.

"The initiative should also attract a number of businesses to the area, creating many new jobs over the next two to three years."

The district council's head of economic development, Nicola Hood, said: "The new building will be the first development on the business park and we hope that its presence will kick-start private sector investment at this location.

"The workspace will be broadband-enabled and built to an excellent design standard.

"We aim to attract growing businesses seeking to expand into good quality premises in an attractive landscaped setting close to the A1 and A66."

The authority is in the process of purchasing the site ready for development work to start in December.

The centre should be completed and open for business by the end of next year.

Plans of the proposed building will be on display at the council's Swale House offices, Richmond, and in the library at Colburn next month.