THE owner of a former hotel and pub in Bishop Auckland has confirmed that redevelopment is in progress.

The Aclet pub, which stands on Watling Road, on the edge of Woodhouse Close Estate, shut in 2017 and was taken over by North East Convenience Stores, which announced plans to build a Spar shop and takeaway on the land.

On Boxing Day that year the pub was subject to a suspected arson attack which delayed the building plans.

Durham County Councillor Tanya Tucker, who represents Woodhouse Close, has said: “The building has been left an eyesore. You would think that by now there would be a definite timeline of when work will be carried out.

“Flytipping has become a problem on the site, and it has become a dumping ground.”

The 280sqm Spar convenience store will stand alongside a 106sqm hot food takeaway, with predictions that the new shop will create eight full-time and eight part-time jobs.

Sanjeev Vadhera, North East Convenience Stores financial director, told The Northern Echo: “It is a large project. It has taken a while to have the asbestos removed from the site due to the fire, but work is in progress.”

The prospect of new ownership and plans to bulldoze the building had previously roused concerns amongst locals.

Campaigners led a two-year fight to save the pub and against the plans. Last April they convinced a Durham County Council planning committee to turn down the plan– fearing it would lead to antisocial behaviour and disruptive noise, odours and littering issues.

But in December an appeal was launched by current developer Sanjeev Vadhera and a Government planning inspector ruled in his favour, agreeing that the new plans would create job opportunities and make use of the boarded-up building.

As a result of local concerns, a series of conditions were implemented in order to address residents' worries, which included limiting the operating hours, installation of CCTV and bollards to protect an ATM.