A new retail park which could help create hundreds of jobs in North Yorkshire has moved a step closer after Richmondshire Council gave it the go-ahead.
The designer outlet centre at Scotch Corner would provide space for more than 80 stores and restaurants across a 33 acre site.
Councillors have given planning permission but the scheme must be considered by Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles before construction work can begin.
Mr Pickles may decide that a public inquiry is needed to assess the impact of the out of town development before it can go-ahead.
The new retail park has been enthusiastically backed by Richmondshire Council.
Council leader John Blackie said: “The Designer Village will re-instate Scotch Corner as the iconic location of old known travellers throughout the nation.
“It is estimated that nearly one million of the village’s annual visitors will have arrived from well beyond Richmondshire – on a day out or simply passing by.
“Many, many of them will then wander around the nearby market towns or tour our lovely Dales countryside – even staying overnight. This is a mega project that has it all.”
Concerns have been raised about the potential impact the development could have on other town centres in the area.
In its comments on the scheme, Darlington Council said it was opposed in the strongest terms” because of the damage it feared could be done to the town by having another retail centre close by.
Similar objections were also raised by Stockton-on-Tees and Hambleton Councils.
Coun Jane Parlour, chairman of the councils’ planning committee, said: “We listened to the arguments both for and against the development and came to the conclusion that the scheme will not have a significant detrimental impact on neighbouring town centres, but will instead be of huge benefit to the wider local economy.
“It will not only plug a gap in the market, it will provide a massive number of jobs for local people.
“It will also bring in visitors to our district – which yet again will have a positive knock on effect on the Richmondshire economy.”
The council’s corporate director, Callum McKeon, said: “We believe that this development will compliment the variety of shops found in Darlington, Northallerton and Teesside because it is something new for Richmondshire and none of the designer outlets proposed for the Scotch Corner development are currently found in those locations.”
Proposals for the new retail development were first put forward in September but were put on hold while the Highways Agency investigated access to the site.
If it receives final approval, the retail village will occupy a site close to the A1, south west of Scotch Corner and to the west of Richmond Road.
The retail park will mimic a village layout and will include open spaces and water features.