Darlington-based gym chain Bannatyne Fitness has applied for outline planning permission to demolish its headquarters in Cleveland Terrace to make way for a housing development.

The application will be considered by the borough council's planning committee on Wednesday.

The company, owned by millionaire entrepreneur Duncan Bannatyne, employs 26 people at its head office, but needs more space to accommodate an anticipated nine extra administrative workers

Mr Bannatyne recently pulled out of a possible move to the new Morton Palms development on the outskirts of Darlington after a disagreement with town planners over whether sports chain JJB would be granted permission to build a "sportsdome" on the same site.

He has also gone on record saying business property rents are far too high in the town.

A move to Durham City has been mooted, with Mr Bannatyne claiming planning permission was more or less guaranteed