DRINKERS in Chester-le-Street may be able to enjoy a quieter pint after county chiefs approved plans to overhaul a Wetherspoons pub.

Bosses at the national chain have been granted permission to install new sliding glass doors at the Wicket Gate, in Front Street, despite concerns about safety and noise at the venue.

But councillors were satisfied the scheme, which will see it switch from being a Lloyds branded bar to a JD Wetherpsoons with a ban on music, was acceptable.

Kieran Hibbs, of Darling Associates, an architect and planning firm, spoke in support of the application, which Durham Constabulary warned could lead to customers blocking the pavement outside and distracting drivers.

Mr Hibbs said: “Part of the proposals to a standard Wetherspoons will include the removal of the dancefloor and moving the bar as part of a full revamp.

“There is previous approval for a roof garden and smokers will be encouraged to go there, rather than hanging out at the front where there is no cover.”

He added: “Although police have noted concerns, they have also said they consider it to be a well run establishment.

mr hibbs was speaking at a meeting of durham county council’s Area Planning Committee for North Durham, which agreed to approve the scheme.

There were 30 letters of objection from members of the public. Members of the panel agreed to give the green light to the scheme, but also requested further details of the doors, such as the materials the doors will be made from, be submitted to the council for approval before work starts.