OKEHAMPTON'S MP and county councillor have both expressed their backing for the proposed Okehampton East Business Park. An outline planning application for the Okehampton East Business Park was submitted and formally accepted into the planning process in August. If approved, it will be located to the east of the town adjacent to Okehampton Business Park, and create a range of commercial premises along with the creation around 150 jobs. The aspiration is to facilitate a suitable space for the creation of high quality business premises. The plans, which have been developed by Devon County Council and the NPS Group, were unveiled at an exhibition in Okehampton Business Centre in April. After visiting Okehampton Business Centre to meet businesses currently using the centre, and to be briefed on the Okehampton East plans, Mel Stride MP said: 'Okehampton has had a tough time in recent years but has bounced back very well from the recession with a number of new businesses starting up and many existing ones expanding. 'Expansion of the business park would be a real boost to the local economy — the business centre was at 100% capacity earlier this year so clearly there is a good demand for its location and facilities.' If given the go-ahead, it is hoped that the site will be developed in two phases. In the first phase, a parcel of land north of Okehampton Business Centre, and two areas of land on the main park site, adjacent to the Higher Stockley Mead road would be developed, with road access points. Once these are constructed and businesses have agreed to use the site, two further parcels of land would de developed. The site has geographical complications to overcome, with a sloping topography meaning the project has to be developed in stages to ensure the financial viability of the business park. The development site has extensive planning history. Outline planning permission was granted for the land to be used for commercial uses in 2006, though that permission has now lapsed. The site was allocated for employment uses in the Local Plan, and the county council is to submit a hybrid planning application detailing the road and site levels, with an outline for the use to include office, distribution and industrial. The park is seen as a key component in the residential expansion of the east of Okehampton, offering new jobs and business opportunities. Okehampton's county Cllr Kevin Ball said: 'There are few issues more important for Devon County Council than supporting the creation of jobs so towns like Okehampton can thrive. 'This new development would offer businesses already in the town the opportunity to expand and would be an attractive option for businesses outside the area that are looking to relocate.'