York Council has given the go ahead for a controversial out-of-town shopping centre, despite warnings it could threaten businesses in the heart of the city.
Supporters of two new flagship stores and a community sports stadium on the outskirts of the city, at Monks Cross, say the scheme will create a 1,000 new jobs and a permanent home for York City Football Club.
But those opposed, including many existing traders in York city centre, say it could be the end of many small independent shops.Councillors met for nine hours and heard from around 40 speakers before coming to their decision.
Included as part of the devleopment are a John Lewis store and a new Marks & Spencer store. It would also help pay for a new 6,000 seater community stadium which would house both the city's football club and the York City Knights rugby league club.
The chairman of York City, Jason McGill said he was delighted with decision, which he said would help ensure the survival of the club.
But Adam Sinclair, from the York Chamber of Trade, said he was disappointed at the council vote, which he said would lead to millions of pounds of sales migrating from the city centre to the out-of-town development.
Critics claim the new scheme, together with existing shopping developments on the edge of York, would create a huge out-of-town shopping floorspace - almost the same size as the region's biggest out-of-town scheme at Meadowhall, in Sheffield.
But developers say it will attract further investment into York and help it compete for business with Leeds.