PLANS to open a new cafe at a former beauty salon site have been given the go-ahead by planners.

In September, a change of use bid was submitted for 6 Front Street in Newfield, near Chester-le-Street.

This included opening a cafe offering hot food, drinks, Sunday lunches and a potential food delivery service on Sundays.

A statement from the applicant, submitted to the council, said the business would source food and ingredients from local suppliers to reduce the need for delivery vans.

During consultation, the plans divided residents with eight objections and seven letters of support.

Concerns included opening hours, parties, parking, childhood obesity, the site’s proximity to a local school and impact on local businesses.

Other comments added a convenience store would be preferred in the area.

Despite opposition, Durham County Council approved the plans on Thursday, December 5.

Council officers said the proposal was acceptable in terms of noise, odour, parking and opening hours.

This includes 9.30am to 6pm, seven days a week.

Planners also responded directly to obesity concerns.

Their report reads: “The premises is located 242m to the south of the local primary school.

“Both the existing sandwich shop and pub which serves food are located significantly closer than the application site to the school.

“As this is a primary school it is unlikely that children would purchase foods from any of the local businesses without their parents to help select their meals.

“Furthermore, the proposed opening hours would only allow for pupils to visit the cafe/takeaway for up to three hours after school.

“It is considered given the distance to the school, the age of the pupils attending the and the proposed opening hours the proposal would not encourage childhood obesity.”

As part of the approval, the council has placed limits on the type of cooking equipment on site.

Works to convert the building must also start within the next three years.