Construction work on a multi-million pound leisure scheme is poised to begin within weeks.
The second phase of the Dalton Park retail outlet in County Durham, which represents a £45m investment, will take around a year to complete, with an official opening date scheduled for May Day 2016.
The scheme will provide a significant leisure extension to Dalton Park’s retail offer and includes a confirmed line-up of top operators including a Cineworld 7 screen cinema, Frankie and Benny’s restaurant, Pizza Express, Prezzo, KFC drive-thru and Morrisons Superstore with petrol filling station, plus a hotel and family public house.
The development was put on hold in the summer of 2012 despite backing from the council, the local MP and the Secretary of State, after a legal team acting for Castle Dene Shopping Centre in Peterlee opposed Durham County Council’s decision to approve the extension.
They claimed the extensive plans would destroy local businesses, also pointing out that the council initially refused the planning application.
Following a High Court Judicial Review the project was finally given the go ahead, paving the way for up to 1,000 jobs to be created – 600 in retail and up to 400 in construction during the build phase.
Directors at Dalton Park thanked supporters, both locally and across the region, for their continued commitment and interest in the future of the outlet and Phase 2 developments.
Confirmation of the start date adds momentum to an already positive year for Dalton Park, which reported strong performance for the first seven weeks of 2015, with visitor numbers ahead of the same period last year by 2.5% and sales ahead by 6.5%.
The outlet has also finalised terms with luxury bedding and towel brand Christy’s and iconic clothing brand Bench who will both open this spring.
Flagship sports store New Balance has also recently doubled its retail space on site to accommodate increased sales and to provide a larger range for customers.
Jerry Hatch, general manager of outlets for Knight Frank, asset managers for Dalton Park, said: “Now we’re finally underway, Phase 2 will be a tremendous addition to the community and the region.
“Not only will it enhance our current retail offer and provide a fantastic range of leisure and service facilities for visitors, it will provide a significant number of new jobs thereby continuing our investment in local regeneration.
“We thank everyone who has supported the project and look forward to an exciting 2015.”