A new restaurant will open in a former city centre Tourist Information Office as part of a cinema takeover.
The Kitchen eatery will open in the tourism office at Walkergate, Durham City, which closed its doors in 2011, despite petitions against the closure.
As well as occupying the empty unit, the restaurant will offer outdoor seating in Millennium Square.
The development is part of Picturehouse Cinema’s takeover of the cinema offering at the adjacent Durham Gala Theatre complex.
Though Picturehouse, a national independent cinema operator, has been programming Gala Cinema since April last year, this new development will see the two existing screens relaunched with new seating and a new box office, as well as the creation of two new screens.
Theatre-goers have been assured that the theatre programme will be unaffected and operational during the refurbishment works, which are due to be completed by the autumn.
Lyn Goleby, managing director of Picturehouse Cinemas, said: “We have long felt that Millennium Square was exactly the location we wanted in Durham despite other opportunities coming our way. I’m delighted that we’ll be operating the newly developed cinema in the autumn and we are looking forward to many years serving the much wider community of the city of Durham with the expanded cinema.”
Durham County Council’s cabinet member for culture and regeneration, coun Neil Foster, said: “As a city, we already know the value of boosting regeneration through culture. We are looking forward to working with Picturehouse to build on Durham’s current cultural assets to develop a vibrant cultural offer in Durham City, centred on Gala and Millennium Place.”
The Durham Picturehouse Cinema will be the 24th in the national firm’s chain and is a partnership between Picturehouse Cinemas and Durham County Council.
Work on the development is due to begin this summer.