THE Northern Echo has known for some time that plans were afoot to bring one of the world’s biggest retailers to Darlington, but we have held back from naming them to help the landmark deal become a reality.

We know that the name “Amazon” as a potential investor has been an open secret in the town for months. Negotiations between Darlington Borough Council, property company DB Symmetry and the potential occupant of the proposed business park near the A66 have reached a delicate stage in recent weeks. The Echo has deliberately held back from naming Amazon as the potential occupant until the agreement was signed.

Amazon has pulled out of similar projects elsewhere in the UK for various reasons and we did not want to scupper a deal which could bring a huge investment into the town.

But now that the ‘A’ word is being spoken openly – thanks to other media organisations spilling the beans – we have given readers an update on the scheme which could bring thousands of jobs to the Tees Valley.

We understand that it is very close to completion but until it’s done this is a case of ‘don’t count your chickens’.

The debate about whether Amazon is the kind of employer or retailer we should welcome to the area is for another day. Right now, a jobs-boosting deal which any council in the north would love to have landed is within Darlington’s grasp. That is an undoubted cause for optimism given the recent gloom about shop closures and job losses.