A PRESTIGE pub/restaurant venture reopened with a bang yesterday - hoping for better fortunes second time around.

Cathedrals was developed in the Victorian-built former city police station in Durham by former sausage company owner Richard Lazenby.

It included restaurants, a coffee shop/bistro and a pub with a micro-brewery.

But within months of opening in July 2001, the £3.5m development hit trouble, and went into administration.

It closed in May with debts estimated at £4m, as the administrators sought to sell the premises as a going concern.

A regional property consortium, Partnorth, took over the complex and recently leased it to management firm F & P Developments, headed by local businessmen Gary Forrest and Dave Purdie.

Under its new management, Cathedrals opened again yesterday, following a £75,000 refurbishment.

The coffee shop and ground-floor bar with in-house pizzeria were up and running, with the first floor restaurant set to open on Friday.

In a change from its previous guise, the second floor restaurant has been replaced by a function room with a private room for parties of up to 15.

Licensee and general manager Andy Forrest said: "We are offering something for all seasons and tastes, and we hope we will be setting the standard."

Executive head chef Dave Clarke comes highly recommended after landing the Country Pub of the Year accolade in his previous role as chef proprietor at The Countryman Inn at Bolam, near Darlington