WORRIED traders say they are concerned about the effect a potential new £100m development investment could have on their town.

Some members of Stanley Chamber of Trade are worried that if plans to develop shopping and leisure on the King's Head Fields, on the edge of the town centre, goes ahead it could draw trade away from their businesses.

The plans have so far come to nothing a year after they were first unveiled.

An unnamed development company was chosen by Derwentside District Council six months ago, but has so far failed to come back with any firm proposals.

A meeting has been called for more than 40 members of the chamber to meet with the chief planning officer of Derwentside District Council, Peter Reynolds, on Thurs- day.

Chairman of Stanley Chamber of Trade Christine Emmerson said traders will be pressing Mr Reynolds for more information. She said: "Mr Reynolds understands the concerns of the local traders and is anxious to answer any questions about the proposed development where possible.

"Unfortunately, because the developer has yet to granted planning permission, he can only talk about the actual procedures the developer will go through and at what stage local people and traders will be able to voice their objections or concerns."

Leader of Derwentside District Council Alex Watson said the investment would "virtually kill off unemployment" in the town. He also outlined multi-million pound schemes to build a swimming pool and bus station in Stanley which he argued would draw trade towards Front Street and the rest of the town centre.

He said: "Of course there would be a massive consultation exercise with the public before anything on this scale went ahead. The county council has said any development would have to look at the entire town centre in any case. We have a situation where we lost up to 70 per cent of Stanley's trade when they opened the MetroCentre and we have to think of something imaginative to get that trade back."

Derwentside council expects to be granted millions of pounds from the National Lottery to build the swimming pool in the coming months.

A final decision on the new bus station will be made after the future of the King's Head site is resolved