A FORMER furniture store in Chester-le-Street is set for a new lease of life as a Greek restaurant.

In June, a ‘change of use’ bid was lodged with Durham County Council for a vacant retail space in the town.

This included converting Walkers Furniture at 131 Front Street into a new eatery.

According to planning documents, the premises have been vacant for the last few years.

New plans include a restaurant specialising in Greek cuisine with seating across two floors and a ‘mixed use’ planning status.

This includes the ability for owners to allow hot food takeaways and to operate a bar on site.

The plans were given the go-ahead recently following a period of council consultation.

A planning statement submitted during this process said the plans would contribute to the “vitality and viability of the town centre.”

In their decision report, council officers agreed – noting that the plans would boost Chester-le-Street’s local economy.

This includes increased footfall and the creation of three full-time and four part-time jobs.

A council report reads: “The hours of proposed opening will give rise to an active street frontage throughout the day and evening which has the potential to uplift the vibrancy of the town centre.

“The proposal has the added benefit of providing an additional facility for visiting members of the public and local employment opportunities.”

Work must start within three years.