WORK can begin on building a new retail park, which will include a supermarket, fast food restaurant and hotel, after plans were given the go-ahead this week.

On Tuesday the planning application for a retail park in Low Prudhoe, on land south of Princess Way, was unanimously approved by councillors on Northumberland County Council’s strategic planning committee.

The approval will allow construction to begin on the first phase of the development, and details submitted by the applicant, Northumberland Estates, have already shown that KFC, B&M and Aldi have planned to take up some of the retail space.

Meanwhile, plans also include a garden centre and an indication that a hotel with attached pub or restaurant will take up part of the site on the A695.

The application had received eight objections including one from Prudhoe Town Council, but town councillor Chris Barrett, who spoke on Tuesday, said that due to changes of councillors, he believed the council would now support the application by a majority.

Objections had included concerns that the retail park would take away trade from shops on Front Street.

Coun. Barrett said: “Back in March, I had an online survey filled in by more than 700 people in Prudhoe and 91 per cent were in favour of a retail park, and 93 per cent said they would use it if it was built.”

The application received 77 supporting comments and county councillor for Prudhoe North, Ken Stow, also spoke in support of the retail park at Tuesday’s meeting. He said: “Prudhoe has been crying out for this type of development for years. We have had no improvements to our shopping offer ever since I have lived there which is 25 years.

“I think this will offer people more choice for their shopping and it will keep people in the town.” He added that it would not only bring extra shops, but also bring environmental and economic benefits.

County council officers had recommended that the application should be approved, subject to various conditions which included details of bus stop facilities and a litter management plan being submitted to the council before the site is occupied.

Prudhoe south councillor, Coun. Gordon Stewart, who proposed the approval of the application, said: “Residents do support our Front Street shops but modern shopping needs can’t always be met by shops on the Front Street.” He added that the development would help reduce unemployment rates.