Extension on the menu

PLANS to extend and revamp a Ponteland restaurant have been given the go-ahead.

A new eatery in Broadway, Darras Hall, will now cover three floors, despite concerns about the loss of two housing units.

The application from Unthank Design Consultants came following the decision of The New Rendezvous owner Kevin Liu to move from the Darras Hall premises into the former Smithy Bistro in Bell Villas.

Approval from the West Area Planning Committee will enable the empty first and second floor apartments to become part of the restaurant.

The existing kitchen will be moved from the ground floor to the first floor, which will also include a private dining area and female toilets. This will create a larger dining area on the ground floor.

Other works will include the installation of a new extractor fan and two small ground floor extensions.

Ponteland Deputy Mayor David Butler said: “Ponteland Town Council did not make a formal objection to this application, but we commented that we were disappointed with the loss of two residential units.”

There were five letters of objection from local residents. Concerns included noise and odours from the building, congestion caused by inadequate parking facilities and damage to the environment of the eastern end of Longmeadows.

A report to the committee from planning officers said that the loss of the residential units within a largely commercial and retail shopping area would not undermine the council’s long-term housing supply aims as there is a small oversupply of housing within the former Castle Morpeth area. They believe that the external changes to the building would not harm the area’s visual amenity.

Conditions have been attached to prevent the new restaurant causing noise or odour disturbance. Councillors added a further condition, requiring the developer to agree the external building materials to be used with the county council.