A VILLAGE pub is hoping to create a fresh new look by expanding its outdoor areas after lockdown.

The Dun Cow in Witton-le-Wear has submitted a planning application to demolish the buildings attached to the side of the pub, to make room for a car park extension.

The building is currently being used as a store house. The demolition would create more room to access the rear car park and also to extend the front beer garden.

The pub itself dates from 1799 and has had many new additions over the years. The plans also detail a new safer environmentally-friendly roof and expansion of the kitchen.

The Northern Echo:

Phil Gibbs, who owns the land, said: “This boils down to the difficult times we are in, we need to survive and serve the community.

“The pub in its current form is an ‘oldie worldie’ kind of pub, which is great, but not good for social distancing. We hope to create a pub garden with more seating outside and direct toilet access, that way we are less likely to break social distancing rule."

The extension to the car park will also help ease some of the parking issues. Currently, visitors to the pub have to park on the roadside, which can lead to congestion. The plans will extend the current car park to include eight to ten spaces, including spaces for disabled parking.

Mr Gibbs added: “All the houses were built before the times of cars, so parking is a big nightmare in the village, so we needed a new car park and this should make it safer for guests. At the minute the pub is difficult for wheelchair users to access, but we are hoping to change that."

Many residents in the village are in favour of tackling the road and parking issues.

One resident, Jamie Adamson said: “I fully support this application. It will enhance the appeal of the pub with more outdoor space and much-needed parking.”

Carolynne Hall said: “As a resident of Witton-le-Wear I would like to add my support to the proposals which intend to make the Dunn Cow a more viable business. If to achieve this the barn has to be demolished then I feel this is justified."

Another resident added: “Looking forward to improvements on high street and becoming a family friendly area. Also improvements in car parking in the village.

“To provide off street parking to the rear is a welcome addition to alleviate the congestion that occurs on High Street when people village the pub.”

Some residents also supported the plans regarding handling social distancing and Covid-19 rules, and one said: “I fully support the plans for more outdoor space especially in the current climate. It allows people to consume beverages and visit the takeaway services safely and much more comfortably.”

To comment on the application, visit Durham County Council’s online Planning Portal, before July 29.