Plans for a new civil engineering training academy in Hartlepool have been given the green light.
Hartlepool-based Seymour Civil Engineering Contractors submitted a planning application last year to create the facility off Brenda Road in the town.
The council planning committee has now approved the scheme - which will feature two training buildings, classrooms, welfare facilities, storage containers and toilets.
Councillors also voted to extend the proposed hours of work of the academy from 8am to 5pm on weekdays to 8am to 8pm, and extend Saturday hours from 8am to 1pm to 8am to 5pm to extend training opportunities.
Kevin Byrne, managing director of the firm, said the academy will have hugs benefits locally and nationally.
He said: “We are delighted that we have been given planning permission for an academy which will help tackle the skills shortage across the civil engineering contractors industry.
“The benefits will have an impact both locally and nationally, providing the skills to those who will work on future infrastructure in this region and across the country.
“We are grateful for the enthusiastic and positive approach from Hartlepool Borough Council and also look forward to working with Hartlepool College of Further Education to deliver the training.”
In 2016, the council was approached by the college and Seymour with a view to finding a suitable site for the academy.
The acedemy will provide training in excavation, pipe laying and related skills.
Andrew Steel, assistant principal of Hartlepool College of Further Education, said: “This is great news and a fantastic opportunity for the long standing partnership between Hartlepool College of Further Education and Seymour Civil Engineering to deliver a unique civil engineering academy to the area.
“The academy will offer excellent training opportunities across a wide variety of civil engineering, plant and construction skills, increase apprenticeship opportunities in the Tees Valley as well as employing additional training staff to meet the anticipated demand.”
Coun Marjorie James moved the plan to extend the hours to allow for more training time, noting there are no housing nearby.
Coun Kevin Cranney said: “To put a restriction on the operating hours when the developers could have a really big impact on the area in terms of jobs, is a bit naive and I support extending the hours.”
For many years the majority of the land has mainly been used for grazing horses, although was formerly used to train digger drivers and similar construction equipment.
Nic Marko , Local Democracy Reporting Service