A former bar and restaurant will be converted into a convenience store despite concerns over its impact on nearby vulnerable residents.

The How Do You Do premises in Peterlee will be expanded with a new shop front and extension to provide more retail space for the new business. 

Applicant Alan Yip submitted the planning application for the York Road premises following the closure of a nearby convenience store.

However, local county councillor Susan McDonell urged councillors to think of the elderly, disabled, and vulnerable residents who live opposite the proposed development.

Speaking at a Durham County Council planning meeting on Tuesday, she said: “As with every shopping precinct area, where there is a shop, off-licence, and takeaway, youths are attracted to it like moths to a flame, and this one is no exception.

"I have no idea why, but the reality of scenarios like that is when gangs congregate they can be very intimidating. A lot of people I know simply won’t go to the shop when it’s dark. 

“Apart from the anti-social behaviour it will no doubt attract, can you imagine what it will be like for the bungalow residents in the winter months? Even more bright lights flashing across their homes early in the day and then keep going on every night. 

“The proposed development would make some of their lives an absolute misery. I wouldn’t want to live there and I don’t think any of you would either.”

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Mr Yip was not at Tuesday’s planning meeting to respond to the concerns. 

Cllr Doug Oliver told the meeting how a similar shop where he lives in Burnhope had not caused any issues. And Cllr David McKenna added: “I find it hard to refuse this application but I struggle with the closeness to vulnerable people.”

The planning committee approved the proposal.