THE pub chain Wetherspoon has asked for permission to close a road behind of its North-East pubs so that it can open a beer garden.

The chain, which is reopening its venues with outdoor spaces from April 12, is hoping a request to close off the road behind The Cooper Rose in Sunderland will be approved.

If granted by Sunderland City Council it would mean the city centre venue would be able to reopen as lockdown restrictions on beer gardens are eased next month.

It is understood that the chain has submitted the joint-request with the Chaplins pub opposite.

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Confirming it is currently in discussions, Wetherspoon told The Northern Echo that they understand the council are in "agreement" to close part of Derwent Road behind the pub.

Eddie Gershon, a spokesperson for the chain, said: "Wetherspoon is in discussions with the council to close the road at the back of The Cooper Rose and utilise the area for a beer garden in collaboration with the pub across the road.

The Northern Echo: The Cooper Rose in Sunderland Picture: JIM SCOTTThe Cooper Rose in Sunderland Picture: JIM SCOTT

“The Copper Rose has no outside drinking area aside from three tables at the front of the pub.

“Wetherspoon understands that the council is in agreement to do this.

“We are keen for this to happen for April 12 when pubs with outside spaces can open once again. We are awaiting the council’s decision on this.”

From April 12, new rules across England are expected to see pubs, restaurants and cafes permitted to serve food and drink outdoors.

It follows on from the roadmap unveiled by the Prime Minister Boris Johnson last month which set out how the country would exit the third national lockdown.

The Northern Echo: The road would be temporarily closed Picture: JIM SCOTTThe road would be temporarily closed Picture: JIM SCOTT

At the time, he said the easing of restrictions would be determined on a number of factors as he listed each key date.

Insisting that such restrictions would only be lifted no earlier than the dates set, he said the roadmap would depend on the country passing four key tests.

Those tests include whether the vaccine roll-out is going as planned, effectiveness on deaths and hospitalisations, the material risk to the NHS and emerging variants.

Already, pub chains including Wetherspoon have set out their own plans as to how they will reopen as the hospitality sector is again permitted to trade.

Last week, the chain said 23 across the region would reopen on April 12 as they all have outdoor space to facilitate the rules.

It said those pubs that will open will generally trade from 9am to 9pm, Sunday to Thursday, and 9am to 10pm on Friday. 


A Statement from Sunderland City Council said: "We are aware of The Cooper Rose and Chaplins’ requests and are currently working alongside the owners to finalise plans to establish an attractive outdoor eating and drinking area in the city centre."