A CLOTHES store could soon be selling drinks instead of dresses if plans to convert it into a pub get the go-ahead.
JD Wetherspoon has applied to turn the M&Co shop in Church Street, Seaham, into one of its bars.
If planners grant permission, the building could be given a £1.1million refit and up to 45 full and part-time jobs could be created.
A name for the pub and potential opening date have not been confirmed by the chain, but a planning application, which includes permission to serve food, has been made.
The application covers 57 to 59 Church Street and a decision has been delegated to Durham County Council planning officers.
Wetherspoon spokesman Eddie Gershon said: “We are keen to open a pub in Seaham and are pleased to have identified a site in the town.
“We have enjoyed great success with our pubs in the region and they have proved very popular with a cross-section of people.
“We believe that a Wetherspoon pub in Seaham will be an asset to the area and one that will be welcomed by people.”
The company, which already runs three pubs in Sunderland, two in Durham and others in Houghton, Washington and Chester-le-Street, has said it will apply for a licence to serve alcohol if the planning permission is approved.
The plan follows years of rumours the chain planned to set up a bar in the town. Several other pubs have found success along the seafront.
Peter Chapman, chief executive of East Durham Business Service (EDBS), said: “EDBS welcomes the investment into Seaham and the benefits it will bring to the economy.
“With the creation of 40-plus new jobs, it is our hope that many of these positions will be filled by East Durham residents.”
The M&Co store has been offered for sale or let for more than a year.
It is not known how many jobs will go if the shop closes.
Bon Marché and Ann Summers, which had been rumoured to be moving into vacant shops in the street, have confirmed they are not planning to set up in the town.
The agent marketing the former Dicksons shop, on the corner of Church Street and Adelaide Row has confirmed the building is still available to buy, despite there being an “under offer” sign and the former Co-op store remains available.