New bid for bar and restaurant

A fresh effort has been made to open up a new business in a vacant Ponteland building.

This is the third planning application submitted by Jonathan Stokes for a two-storey bar and restaurant in Bell Villas to replace the former Wine Rack off-licence that closed in December 2009.

Northumberland County Council’s west area planning committee refused the first one in February 2011 on the grounds that it would be an unacceptable loss of retail space and in July of that year, planning inspector Ian Jenkins agreed with its assessment.

Another bid was put forward and although the committee turned it down in January 2012, inspector David Cullingford allowed the subsequent appeal later in the year.

The two applications generated almost 30 letters of objection and two petitions signed by 170 people. They said a lack of parking spaces would make existing problems even worse and concerns about noise and odours were also expressed.

Works for the development were not carried out, but now another proposal has been lodged with the county council.

It includes the construction of a single storey extension to house a kitchen, manager’s office and cellar/bottle store, a new glazed lobby, an external terrace partially covered by two awnings and enclosed by planters and new signage.

An objection to these plans has already been made by nearby pub The Diamond Inn.

Its response says: ‘The proposed development has no parking and having spoken to all the businesses in the immediate vicinity, they are furious that this has not been addressed.

‘There would be between 15 and 20 deliveries of services a week and the wagons or vans would have to either pull up on the kerb or reverse back onto the main A696. This would cause chaos, not to mention a huge danger to other road users and pedestrians.’

Ponteland Town Council has also raised concerns about parking and it believes the proposed design and frontage is not in keeping with the conservation area.

The design and access statement for the application says the establishment would be called You Only Live Once.

It adds: ‘The interior of the bar takes its inspiration from a high-end French bistro, elegant and classic in design with unique, individual pieces of furniture with a menu to match.

‘Throughout the day, the bistro will sell coffee and food. It will transform into a chic bar in the evening with a range of cocktails, fine wines and selected ales on offer.’