Work on a £1.6m scheme to create new industrial land in Northallerton begins next week.

Contractors for Hambleton District Council are moving onto the Darlington Road site to turn 19 acres of farmland into prime business plots. And planning chiefs say several local businesses have already stated an interest in taking units on the site.

Hambleton's cabinet spokes- man for economic development, Coun Ralph Andrew, said: "Business is booming in Northallerton, with our Standard Way industrial estate almost full to bursting. This new development will open up land for new businesses"

The estate is the first stage in a plan to provide 45 acres of employment land in the Darlington Road area. Initial work to service the land is expected to be completed next spring, with the first businesses taking up residence by the summer.

The development includes an on-site balancing pond that aims to ensure the new estate does not increase the risk of flooding in the town.