The opening of a new STACK venue in Durham city centre has taken a step closer after a licence to sell alcohol was approved.

The popular entertainment provider plans to convert and bring former M&S on Silver Street back into use by offering live music, food, and drink, building on the success of its Newcastle and Sunderland sites.

The site is currently occupied by the Yorkshire Trading Company discount store.

An application for a similar venue in Bishop Auckland has recently been submitted, which includes the demolition of two derelict high street buildings.

No demolition work will take place if the Durham city centre plans are approved, with STACK instead keen to bring the prominent floorspace back into use.

The Northern Echo: Silver Street has had to adapt quickly to a new era of retail post-pandemicSilver Street has had to adapt quickly to a new era of retail post-pandemic (Image: SARAH CALDECOTT)

It says it will create a new “leisure and social community hub concept” that will “substantially contribute to the city centre’s overall vitality and viability, and support and enhance both its day and night-time economies”.

A new rooftop area has also been proposed, with a new shop front design like other STACK venues.

On the ground floor, there will be eight food traders and two ground areas surrounding a central seating ‘plaza’ area. A stage will host live music and comedy.

There will be four more food traders and two more bars on the first floor, with the second floor designated for a games area.

A licence to consume alcohol from 10am to 12am Monday to Thursday, extended to 1am on Friday and Saturday, was granted. An extension until 2am on New Year’s Eve and bank holidays was also included.

Around 185 full and part-time jobs will be created at the new site.

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The Northern Echo: How the front of the new facility could look How the front of the new facility could look (Image: Danieli Group)

Neill Winch, of Danieli Group, which runs STACK, confirmed plans had been submitted.

He said: “Durham is a city with an international reputation for its tourist attractions and history and is home to one of the top universities in the country, bringing in students from around the world.

“We are in the business of transforming places, and we hope to be a catalyst for transformation in County Durham with a combined investment of more than £7 million.

“We believe STACK will be a huge asset in both locations and will also give independent businesses in the area the opportunity to be involved as well as supporting both the daytime and night-time economy.”

The planning application is yet to be approved but STACK hopes to open by winter 2023.