A FORMER hot and cold food takeaway looks set to be converted into a micro pub after planning permission was granted.

The former sandwich shop at 15 King Street, in Spennymoor, has been empty for more than a year. But Durham County Council this week approved the property’s change of use from a retail unit to a micro pub.

In a statement to the council, applicant David Rowcroft said: “It is designed to be a local hub where people can meet, have a drink, talk or read in a quiet, pleasant atmosphere.”

He said the pub plans to sell cask, bottled and canned soft and alcoholic drinks from local sources, there will be no brewing onsite, music will not be played and work will include soundproofing and CCTV.

When the application was submitted to the council two letters of objection were submitted to the council saying there are already sufficient drinking establishments in the area and expressing fears about potential noise, litter, smoking outside the premises and antisocial behaviour.

Those issued could be addressed when a premises licence for the pub is considered, the council said.

Concerns were also raised that it would create extra traffic and parking problems but the highways department said it was unlikely to generate significantly more traffic than the previous use.

Officers from the council’s environmental health team shared concerns about the potential noise impact upon neighbouring residents but felt that could be mitigated with conditions including restricted operating hours, sound proofing between the premises and the flat above and the control of the timings and use of the rear yard.

The proposed opening hours are 2pm to 11pm from Monday to Friday, noon to 11pm on Saturdays and noon to 10.30pm in Sundays and Bank Holidays.

Up to eight patrons will be allowed to use a rear yard, where there will be two benches, until 9pm only.

Planning officers acknowledged there may be a preference for the unit to remain as a shop unit and that turning it into a pub would mean intensification of the site.

But, located within the town centre where leisure activities are permitted and there is a mix of commercial and residential properties, it was considered an acceptable use of the building.

Case officer Jayne Pallas said: “The proposal seeks to bring back into use an empty retail unit, which has been vacant for over a year.

“It is considered that there would be positive benefits to the unit being brought back into use by promoting activity and footfall within the town centre area.

“No external changes are proposed to the shop front, and any future advertisements would be subject to separate advertisement consent depending on their size and location.

“Overall, the proposals are considered acceptable as the reuse of the building would have positive impacts on the character of the host property and the surrounding area.”

Ms Pallas concluded: “The character and appearance of the area would not be negatively affected, the impact upon residential amenity would be acceptable subject to the imposition of a number of conditions and highway safety and visibility would be preserved.

“For these reasons, the proposal is recommended for approval.”