A LANDLORD is looking to build up trade in a village pub after it reopened following a nine-week, £200,000 refurbishment .

Steve Metcalfe and his partner Lynda Harland opened the Fox and Hounds Inn, at Kirk Merrington, near Spennymoor, on July 11.

The Initial Group carried out the work, which saw the building become a free house after formerly being tied to Camerons Brewery.

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Mr Metcalfe said: “It’s an exciting time and we’re looking forward to the challenge of building up trade again.

“It’s about putting something back into the village and we plan to recruit staff and so create local jobs.

“We intend to start a brewery but not for about six months. We have done it before and we’d sell the beer and probably supply other pubs too.”

Mr Metcalfe and Ms Harland have previously run The Quaker Coffee House, in Darlington.

Food is served daily and it is hoped to have live music at the pub on Cameron Terrace.

The refurbishment forms part of an Initial Group scheme to build 49 homes and a shop on land near to the pub.

Some residents have raised concerns about the development, saying there is no need for the new homes, and that the extra traffic generated would exacerbate problems on the busy B6287, which passes the site.