Plans for a new entrance and re-use of historic awnings as part of a new restaurant at one of Newcastle city centre’s most iconic buildings have been approved.

The doors to a new era at the former Grade II-listed Co-op building on Newgate Street, are set to open after plans for a ground floor re-development project for Premier Inn hotels, who currently occupy the site, received the green light.

Newcastle City Council planners have approved plans by Hexham-based Hedley Planning Services for ascheme that will improve access to a new ‘Bar + Block’ steakhouse restaurant, which is under development on the hotel’s ground floor.

The move is the latest chapter in the site’s long history and ushers in an exciting new phase for the building, said Hannah Chapman, planner at Hedley Planning Services.

Welcoming thecouncil’s decision, she added that there have been some challenges to secure approval, but work can now move to the next stage with building contractors due onsite imminently.

“With the site being a Grade II-listed building within a conservation area, there have clearly been some obvious challenges to overcome around the refurbishment work.

“We’re delighted that our plans, which will retain the iconic appearance of this well-known building, can now move ahead and be completed.

“As planners, we want to see the creation of exciting, aspirational and rewarding schemes that leave a long-lasting legacy. This one will undoubtedly see a real positive change to this historic and popular part of the city centre.”

Thenew 184-bed Premier Inn opened in 2016 after a £17m revamp, which took five years to complete and now caters for thousands of guests visiting the city every year.

Hedley Planning Servicesprovides creative planning solutions to complex development proposals, with services covering a range of land-use and planning considerations. More www.hedleyplanning.co.uk