Plan to turn former Seaham snooker hall into 'exclusive Indian Brasserie' gets the go-ahead
A former snooker hall in Seaham is set for a new lease of life as an Indian restaurant under new plans.
In September 2020, plans were lodged with Durham County Council to change the use of the former Harkers Bar at 28-29 North Terrace in the town.
This included transforming the vacant ground floor unit into a restaurant with a new shopfront, retractable awning, new doors and a single storey extension to the rear to allow for kitchen facilities.
A design, access, planning and heritage statement from the applicant also set out the vision for the new space.
This included creating an “exclusive Indian Brasserie with a unique design and feel” alongside a delivery and collection service.
Applicants stressed the takeaway/collection service would be an ancillary use with no “specific footprint within the premises.”
Instead, customers would be able to collect orders from the main reception bar area.
During consultation, one comment was lodged with the council raising concerns about potential noise disturbance during construction.
In a decision report, council planners said this process would “only be for a short period of time.”
After considering the application against planning policies, Durham County Council’s planning department approved the restaurant use on March 15, 2021.
The decision report reads: “It is considered that the proposed change of use is in keeping with the appearance, character, design and scale of the existing unit and will enhance the character and appearance of the building and conservation area.
“In turn the proposed development would not have a significant detrimental impact upon the amenities of nearby residential properties.”
According to planning documents, the restaurant will have a capacity of 130 covers and is expected to employ 10 full-time and five part-time staff.
Approved opening hours include 9am-11pm on any day of the week and 9am-1am on Eid and New Year’s Eve only.
In addition, the front and side elevation of the building will also benefit from new glazing to provide views of the coast and allow daytime trading.
A planning statement from the applicant reads:“The existing building has been somewhat neglected and has no redeemable features remaining.
“Although externally it is in a poor state of repair, the building remains structurally sound and weathertight.
“The building faces Terrace Green which itself holds the position of the Seaham War Memorial which is a popular tourist attraction.
“As part of the development the entire building will be externally refurbished and redecorated in order to bring it to a standard worthy of the seafront terrace and to enhance the terrace itself in line with other current developments in the vicinity.”