ONE of the North-East's most crucial developments is still on track, officials said yesterday.

The future of the proposed Morton Palms Business Park, on the outskirts of Darlington, was secured in March by a deal which could create up to 1,000 jobs.

Newcastle firm City and Northern was chosen as Darlington Borough Council's preferred developer for the site, on the western edge of the town.

Despite no fresh planning application yet being made for a 30,000 sq ft office development, the authority said there was no hold-up.

A spokesman for the council said: "We are still anticipating work to start on the site in the summer."

The project could attract £17m of private investment and is seen as a key part of proposals to make Darlington the gateway to the Tees Valley.