A DEVELOPER has unveiled £120m plans to transform a former coal pit site into an industry park and housing estate which could create more than 300 jobs.
County Durham’s Esh Developments hopes to start work next year clearing up the near derelict 45-acre Philadelphia Industrial Estate in Sunderland.
The firm’s parent group bought most of the land surrounding the former Coal Authority offices, railway workshops and depots and pit a few years ago in the hope of bringing new life to the area which has been in decline for the last 20 years.
It wants to build 650 houses, a supermarket, petrol station, shops, woodland and new homes for businesses as well as create new roads at Philadelphia.
Esh Developments’ managing director Geoff Woodcock said: “Esh Group had bought the site with the intention of doing something like this and I have been working on these plans for 18 months because it seemed like the right time.
“Businesses were moving out and a lot of the accommodation from those still there was getting run down. When Wessington Cryogenics, one of the biggest firms there, left two years ago, we decided to get to work.
“The housing market is really showing signs of picking up now. The Government is doing a lot to help first- time buyers. This site will see jobs created and bring great benefits to people who currently live and work here as well as attracting new investment to the area.”