Outline planning permission has been granted for the new Centre for Creative Excellence at Seaham, County Durham in the northeast of England.

The proposed centre would have a media business park, an educational campus, two hotels and an agricultural college. Backers predict it could contribute more than $100m to the local economy.

After clearing this hurdle with the Government Office for the North East, the project could get the final go-ahead this summer.

Tom Harvey, chief executive, Northern Film & Media, said: 'It is fantastic news for local film makers. We will be able to build a training infrastructure here of real quality in partnership with the universities. We already have an international reputation for our short film making and we can now build that into a feature film reputation.'

Colin Brown, British Film Commissioner, added: 'The Centre for Creative Excellence is a well thought through scheme that will not only be of benefit to the region but will also help the British film industry achieve its aims of increasing output nationally and encouraging inward investment.'

Developers are Coolmore Estates and Michael Drain Architects is working on the project.