WORK on a multi-million pound economic growth development is gathering pace after several planning conditions were approved.

In January 2013 Flintshire Council granted permission for a retail and commercial park, as well as more than 700 new homes on the former RAF base in Sealand as part of the £95m Northern Gateway project.

The proposals appeared to have stalled in recent years, however they were given new life after the Welsh Government funded the construction of the £3.1m road network.

The local authority has now agreed to discharge a number of conditions which will unlock plans to build up to 725 homes on the site in three phases over the next nine years.

Developer Praxis Real Estate Management is also aiming to deliver 98 hectares of employment land in the next six years after the company revealed there had been ‘considerable interest’.

In a planning statement they said the businesses likely to be brought to the area include a hotel, health and fitness centre, pub and restaurant, car show room, food store, petrol station, coffee shop and a nursery, resulting in the creation of up to 500 jobs.

The overall scheme in Deeside Enterprise Zone is expected to result in 5,000 new job opportunities.

Writing on behalf of Praxis, planning consultants Ancer Spa said: “Since the grant of outline planning permission, a site access road has been built by the Welsh Government and marketing of the site to prospective occupiers has been undertaken.

“This has resulted in considerable interest in the site and so the scene is set for the site lead developer Praxis on behalf of Crag Hill Estates Ltd to proceed with preparing the site for development and for reserved matters applications to be submitted for the first phase of residential, employment and commercial buildings.

“However, before development comprising first phase buildings can take place there is a need to discharge various ‘pre-commencement’ planning conditions that deal with site-wide issues.”

Praxis has made some changes to the original plans, including the extension of the district centre on Welsh Road to add more commercial plots on land previously earmarked for housing. But they were approved by council officers after consultants said the total floorspace for employment use would remain at approximately 8,500 square metres.

They said: “The marketing exercise has generated more interest from occupiers of the prominent commercial plots than can be accommodated on them.

“The developer Praxis is accordingly proposing that the southern-most plot that was allocated for residential use, should now be used to extend the district centre and its commercial uses.

“It is envisaged that up to 725 dwellings will still be built on the housing plots H1 to H8 by increasing the average density to 35 dwellings per hectare which is appropriate to this location.”

The news comes a week after it was revealed that detailed proposals for 134 houses are about to be submitted by developers Pochin on another part of the gateway site at the former Corus steelworks’ in Garden City.

Sealand councillor Christine Jones said she hoped it would signal the end to years of uncertainty over when work on the site will begin.