St Neots is expecting an employment boost of about 200 jobs after a new retail and business park was given the go-ahead.

Huntingdonshire District Council approved plans for the redevelopment of part of Howard Road Industrial Estate in Eaton Socon on Tuesday, March 24, paving the way for major retailers to come to the town.

The site will include Aldi, B&M Bargains and Pets at Home and work will be carried out by property developers Quora Ltd.

There will also be four starter business units built as part of the scheme, designed to rejuvenate the site which has been empty for about five years.

Work is scheduled to start in the next month, with a view to the development being up and running by the end of the year.

More than 90 people supported the proposals as part of the pre-application consultation, and 39 people wrote to HDC to back the application.

Councillor Roger Harrison, who has a seat on the town and district council, said: "I'm thrilled that Quora are investing in Eaton Socon, as 200 new jobs are a significant benefit for local people in hard economic times. This is just what the area needs."

Councillor Derek Giles, who represents Eaton Socon at district and county level, added: "I'm looking forward to an added selection of local facilities for the area - this will be good competition for the Tesco at Eynesbury. I hope to work with the retailers in the future to promote our community."

Reverend Timothy Robb, vicar of St Mary's Church, Eaton Socon, a supporter of the proposals, said: "I am delighted the plans have been approved. This will mean a lot to the local community both in terms of jobs and shopping choice. We hope to be working closely with Quora on local initiatives in the near future."

Ben Ellis, director of Quora, added: "We are extremely pleased with the news, as are our tenants Aldi, Pets at Home and B&M who are all looking forward to coming to Eaton Socon.

"We would like to thank all members of the local community who have supported us during the planning application process. We would also like to thank the local businesses that have been in touch expressing interest in the business units. If any business is interested I would urge you to contact us again."