Plan to turn former furniture store into new restaurant gets the go-ahead

A former furniture store in Chester-le-Street is set for a new lease of life as a restaurant.

Tuesday, 15th October 2019, 12:46 pm
Updated Tuesday, 15th October 2019, 6:10 pm
131 Front Street, Chester-le-Street Picture: Google (2018)

In June, a ‘change of use’ bid was lodged with Durham County Council for a vacant retail space in the town.

This included converting Walkers Furniture at 131 Front Street into a new eatery.

According to planning documents, the premises have been vacant for the last few years.

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New plans include a restaurant specialising in Greek cuisine with seating across two floors and a ‘mixed use’ planning status.

This includes the ability for owners to allow hot food takeaways and to operate a bar on site.

The plans were given the go-ahead on October 10 following a period of council consultation.

A planning statement submitted during this process said the plans would contribute to the “vitality and viability of the [town] centre.”

In their decision report, council officers agreed – noting that the plans would boost Chester-le-Street’s local economy.

This includes increased footfall and the creation of three full-time and four part-time jobs.

A council report reads: “The hours of proposed opening will give rise to an active street frontage throughout the day and evening which has the potential to uplift the vibrancy of the town centre.

“The proposal has the added benefit of providing an additional facility for visiting members of the public and local employment opportunities.”

Under planning conditions, works must take place within three years.

Agreed opening hours include 8am-11pm, Monday to Saturday and noon-10pm on Sundays and Bank Holidays.