A COUNTRY pub/restaurant is to be demolished and re-built with a more traditional farmhouse feel.

The Newton Grange opened as a pub/hotel in a converted former farmhouse, with adjoining car park, near Newton Hall, on the outskirts of Durham, in 1985.

It has since undergone several extensions, but Pathfinder Pubs, the owner, believes more can be made of the setting.

The Wolverhampton-based company applied to demolish the existing building and develop a new pub/restaurant in its place.

It will be styled on a local farmhouse. The main two-storey building facing the nearby Finchale Road roundabout will be constructed of red brick, with a slate roof, while an adjoining single-storey section is to be stone-built.

It will feature a patio area, with terrace seating, and a new access area onto the site with 50-marked car parking spaces.

Despite objections over potential disturbance for residents on nearby Newton Hall estate, Durham City Council granted planning approval, as the nearest property is more than 50 metres from the proposed development.

Senior city planner Peter Herbert said it would also have no adverse impact on the green belt north of Durham.

The city council's development control committee granted planning approval with a number of conditions over the building detail, and subject to agreement over acceptable landscaping.

There is also a proviso that it should not open to customers later than 11.30pm.

Ed Hancock, Pathfinder's estates director, said last night the company is planning a £1.5m investment.