Work has started on a new business park, which is expected to bring 3,200 new jobs to County Durham.

With £13m funding from the Local Enterprise Partnership, Durham County Council is carrying out work to prepare the 52 hectare Forrest Park site in Newton Aycliffe.

This new site will link up with the existing Aycliffe Business Park - which liesadjacent to the Hitachi Rail site.

The enabling works, due to be completed by the end of autumn 2017, will see construction of a new junction on the A167 - for better access to both the new site and Aycliffe Business Park – plus an internal link road and a power substation.

Durham County Council said the improvements were designed to remove existing barriers to the continued success and further expansion of Aycliffe Business Park.

By doing so it is hoped that it will unlock a potential investment of nearly £140 million from the private sector to develop the site.

It’s estimated the site could see the creation of 3,200 jobs and boost the local economy to the tune of almost half a billion pounds.

“The decision by Hitachi to bring rail manufacturing back to its spiritual home in County Durham provided us with the opportunity of a lifetime. The significant role the Council played in that decision, along with our partners, remains one of my proudest moments with the authority. To add to the success of what is already the largest business park in the region, by unlocking the new development on Forrest Park we hope to bring forward over 3,000 jobs and add almost half a billion pounds to the economy over the next twenty years. This investment will firmly shine a light on Durham, demonstrating what a great place the County is for business.”

Cllr Simon Henig, Leader of Durham County Council