DEVELOPERS are queuing up for the right to rebuild a much-mailigned bus station.

Derwentside District Council will tomorrow unveil a £1m design brief for the demolition of Stanley's 30-year-old bus station on the A693 and its replacement.

The document details outline proposals for the Mary Street site and aims to sell its potential to developers and retail companies. But bosses at the local authority, which owns the property, said there was already widespread interest in the project.

Councillor Alex Watson, leader of the district council, said: "There has certainly been interest expressed.

"It is a prime site and selling it will not be a problem. The problem, if any, will be deciding who we sell it to."

The proposals will see the new bus station built next door to the existing one, on what is presently a car park.

The old station will then be demolished, to make way for a a possible retail and leisure complex.

But Coun Watson promised that car parking would not be an issue while the work is carried out. "The bus station has got to be developed first, so the car parking facility will remain," he said.

"We have commissioned a car parking study of where parking needs to be to make it more accessible, but for the immediate future, Mary Street is not under threat."

The plans make room for a smaller car park between the old and new stations and room for a sculpture.

It also suggests demolishing up to five buildings in the town's main shopping area, to create a wider and safer pedestrian access from the bus station to Front Street. These include the post office, an estate agent's, a bookmakers and a charity shop.

Durham County Council and the district authority are already looking into compulsory purchase orders to move the businesses out.

The project will be financed by the sale of the existing station to a retail developer, with a further £300,000 coming from the Local Transport Plan.

Council bosses estimate the new station could be open by March next year if plans are approved.

The design brief goes before the district council's development control committee, which meets in Consett Civic Centre, at 2pm