Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Roads Chiefs Lift Jobs Block

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Roads Chiefs Lift Jobs Block

Article excerpt

Byline: By Ross Smith

Plans to revive the site of a North factory which shifted its work overseas were finally approved yesterday after road chiefs withdrew a block on the development.

Gateshead councillors were yesterday expected to further delay a decision on the former Jockey underwear plant at Team Valley, because of concerns by the Highways Agency.

But the agency said yesterday it had lifted its block, allowing UK Land Estates permission to build a set of warehouses expected to create 110 jobs.

The Highways Agency said the decision came after "constructive discussions" with UKLE.

But business leaders hailed the decision as a victory for the Go For Jobs campaign, led by The Journal and the North East Chamber of Commerce.

The plan was originally lodged in October last year.

UKLE included a traffic assessment by consultants showing the warehouses would put less traffic on the A1 than the factory generated in its heyday.

But the Highways Agency were not satisfied with the submission, and the wrangle delayed approval by two months.

North East Chamber of Commerce policy director Andrew Sugden said yesterday: "We are really pleased with this news and wish the developer every success with restoring this redundant building back to a job-creating site.

"This is a major success for the Go For Jobs campaign and reflects the pressure being brought to bear on the Highways Agency to abandon delaying tactics that are harming the North-East economy.

"The Jockey site hit to the heart of the campaign ( it was not creating any additional jobs, and in turn traffic, to the original factory and yet the Highways Agency was strangling its development.

"Finally, the agency has seen sense. The sooner it employs similar sense on other sites in its grip the better."

A Highways Agency spokeswoman said: "The Highways Agency is very keen to work with developers to resolve issues around congestion, as it has done with the Jockey development in Gateshead, where the agency's holding letter was withdrawn last week following constructive discussions with the company. …

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