A PUB struggling to survive has been granted permission to continue serving customers.

After the intervention of city of Durham MP, Mary Kelly Foy, the historic Dun Cow Inn has been granted permission to continue serving customers seated outside the pub all summer.

Durham County Council agreed to reverse its original decision which would have seen the outside seating area revert back to parking bays on June 21.

This issue was brought to Mrs Foy’s attention after constituents contacted her about the student-led ‘Save the Cow’ campaign.

After contacting owners Bill Sanders and Jill Carey, she was informed that although the council had granted the pub the use of two parking spaces to accommodate customers outside, this would end in June, reducing the pub’s capacity and ability to recover financially from the pandemic.

Mrs Foy contacted the council to argue the merits of suspending these bays this summer, as the business recovers and the Old Elvet area of the city has reduced traffic flow due to the closure of Elvet bridge.

The owners now hope to negotiate with the County Council about using this space on an annual basis during the summer months.

Mr Sanders said: “Over the past year our business has been turned on its head. The Dun Cow is an intimate pub, which in normal times is part of our appeal, but social distancing restrictions severely restrict our ability to trade viably inside

“The decision to suspend these parking bays for the entirety of the summer months is a lifeline to us.

“Since we opened the outside seating area it has proven incredibly popular. It has been a god send, our takings have improved drastically, up over 60 per cent, and we can now start to recover some of our pandemic losses. I am truly grateful to Mary taking up this cause on our behalf."

Mrs Foy added: “Hospitality businesses in Durham have been hit incredibly hard during the pandemic. Although for many the doors have re-opened and drinks are flowing once more, by no means has business as usual returned. Just this week, the Office for National Statistics has revealed that one in five pub owners fear they will not survive until August.

“When I became aware of the obstacles the Dun Cow was facing, I was all too happy to lend my support in any way I could in order to assist a popular pub which has been a fixture of the local community for generations.

“Due to Elvet Bridge being closed for repair work, many of these parking bays often stand empty. It was maddening to me that in these circumstances the Dun Cow, struggling for the space to serve customers viably would have to give up its outside area on June 21. It is incredibly heartening that after I wrote to Durham County Council to make this case, that common sense has prevailed, and the Dun Cow will have the space to prosper this summer and begin to recover from the pandemic.”