PLANS to build one of the UK's greenest warehouse developments look likely to be given approval.

Council planning officers have recommended permission is granted for the 100-acre distribution centre on the outskirts of Aycliffe Industrial Estate.

The outline planning application is for 131,540sq metres of business and industrial units, as well as lorry and car parking and a renewable energy centre.

The applicants, Merchant Place Developments Ltd, say the site has the potential to create 1,000 jobs, as well as 250 involved with its construction.

The site, which is on greenfield land at Heighington Lane, falls between the Sedgefield and Darlington Borough Council boundaries.

The Campaign for the Protection of Rural England and Heighington Parish Council have objected to the scheme.

The parish council has said the development should not be built on farmland and will spoil the amenity of the village.

Reports to both borough councils state that the land has been allocated as a development site for employment use for several years because of its size and proximity to the motorway network.

In anticipation of its development, a new bridge was built over the railway and the road network improved during the Nineties.

Reports to both borough councils state: "The proposal would have a short-term detrimental impact upon the ecology of the site, because of the loss of habitat arising from this development.

"However, it has been demonstrated that significant hedgerow and tree planting can be carried out within the site, including the potential to use green roofs.

"It is felt that this work, together with a financial package to support additional habitat creation off site, will compensate for these losses.

"In conclusion, it is considered that, on balance, the potential economic benefits of the proposed scheme on this allocated site, together with suitable landscaping and habitat mitigation works, would outweigh those concerns relating to the shortterm ecological impact of development and the visual impact of the proposal."

The plans go before Sedgefield Borough Council's development control committee tomorrow and Darlington Borough Council's planning application committee on Wednesday.