WORK to expand an industrial park by almost 50 per cent to meet demand for new business space got under way recently.

The £1.4m project - the third phase of development at Thirsk's industrial estate - has already attracted attention from 30 firms interested in moving in.

Hambleton District Council's economic development chairman, Peter Brown, said: "This is a very exciting development for Hambleton. It will not only provide space for expanding local businesses but will bring in new business - and new jobs.

"Thirsk Industrial Park is already known as a great location for business. This expansion will ensure that it continues to be a success."

The project, which has been backed by £343,000 from the EU, is being developed by the district council and North Yorkshire County Council in conjunction with English Partnerships.

Mr Brown said the council would be looking to encourage manufacturing and hi-tech jobs with the aim of helping local firms to develop and increasing employment opportunities for local people.

The district council has used cash from its £3.3m economic development fund to buy the site.

"This fund allows the council to be a major player in local economic development," said Mr Brown. "It enables us to provide employment land to meet the needs of businesses and bring new opportunities to the district."

Construction work on factories and offices at the site is expected to start within the next few months. Some traffic disruption is expected on York Road