THE proposed relocation of a recycling plant could help regenerate a North-East industrial estate hit by devastating job loses.

The County Durham community of Spennymoor was rocked two years ago when power tool company Black and Decker said 950 jobs would go.

Now Foreman Recycling has submitted a planning application to Durham County Council to relocate to the former Black and Decker site, on the Green Lane Industrial Estate.

The company is proposing to recycle cardboard, newspapers, magazines, paper, plastics, metal, cans, glass, domestic appliances and textiles, handling an estimated 250,000 tonnes of material every year.

The company employs 50 full-time staff, and expects to take on 20 people in the next 12 months, with the possibility of a further 40 jobs being created.

The application will be discussed on Friday by planners and officials at Sedgefield Borough Council, which is being consulted about the proposals.

A previous development study had recommended demolishing the building and clearing the site for further economic use to aid the long-term regeneration of the estate.

But a report to members said that it would be more sustainable to sell the vacant unit to Foreman Recycling so that it remains in use.

The report, which recommends members raise no objection to the application, added: "It is considered that it will positively contribute to the regeneration of the estate and economic development of the area, particularly with the prospect of additional employment."

Deputy council leader Kester Noble, the cabinet member for regeneration, said: "I welcome this because it will bring a much needed employment opportunity, especially with the loss of jobs at Black & Decker."

He said the council was working on other ways of regenerating Green Lane, a prestige business area, and said: "We are looking at a study plan for Green Lane to help try and attract new businesses and new jobs."

Coun Noble also said that some of the money raised by the borough from the sale of land, which is expected to net millions of pounds over the next few years, could be spent on projects designed to regenerate the area's industrial estates.