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The chair of the Association of North East Councils has welcomed as a 'significant step forward in our regeneration...
The chair of the Association of North East Councils has welcomed as a 'significant step forward in our regeneration hopes for the region' the announcement by the government that it is supporting proposals for a major new employment site north of Sunderland-and has accepted in principle the need for a similar site in the Tees Valley.

Cllr Tony Flynn was responding to the announcement from planning minister Sally Keeble of amendments to the draft Regional Planning guidance which will now be the subject of further public consultation before the guidance is finalised later in the year.

Said Mr Flynn: 'Earlier government proposals for the planning guidance allowed for the development of only one new greenfield strategic employment site in the region-in the East Durham area. The association, together with individual authorities and the regional development agency One North East made clear that we did not believe this would be enough to enable us to attract the level of investment, industries and jobs needed for the regeneration of the region.

'We are pleased that in its response, announced today, the government has moved significantly and has recognised the strength of the arguments we have put forward. The proposal to include a second site in the general north Sunderland area is very welcome-as is the recognition that, in principle, there is a strong case for a third site in the Tees Valley area, probably west of Stockton.

'The government's agreement to re-instate the site in north Sunderland is conditional on the association carrying out a review of the land within the region allocated for employment development-and we will also be progressing the additional work needed to identify more precisely a further site in the Tees Valley.

'I am sure that this announcement will be seen as a major boost for the region as a whole-and will be particularly good news in the areas identified for the additional new strategic sites.'

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