Durham County Council has awarded consent for the Eastgate renewable energy village, which will include 65 homes, a hotel and spa and outdoor sports facilities. It will be powered by wind, solar, hydro, biomass and geothermal technologies.
The scheme, which is masterplanned by David Lock Associates, will create 350 jobs on the former cement works site, replacing those lost when it closed in 2002.
Building work is set to begin in 2011 if the government does not call in the application. Developer Weardale Task Force (WTF) anticipates that the project's use of the latest renewable technologies will avoid it going to a public inquiry.
WTF chairman John Hamilton said: "The redevelopment is acknowledged in the regional spatial strategy. The benefits of our proposal will extend beyond Weardale."