Expansion plans lodged
Fresh plans to extend a popular Northumberland pub have been submitted.
The owners of The Black Bull Inn at Lowick want to enhance the dining space and create four more guest bedrooms.
The pub has been under the ownership of a farming and sporting estate at nearby Hetton Steads since last summer.
Black Bull Management Services already had planning permission to extend the pub to the east with a single storey private dining suite. However, it has now reviewed operations in the wake of Covid-19 and lodged an application to extend both the east and west sides.
A planning report submitted on its behalf explains: ‘The purchase of the pub coincided with the easing of the first coranvirus lockdown provisions in England in summer 2020, allowing the pub to be open through the incorporation of carefully managed social distancing.
‘This was a great success and the new owners have demonstrated the trading potential of the enterprise is very sound.
‘However, recent months have given the opportunity to pause and reflect on the lessons learned to date from a few months of busy trading.
‘What has become clear to the applicant is that the current dining space is poorly laid out for comfortable dining and ease of operation. Also, the kitchen is very cramped for safe and efficient working conditions and storage space is poorly located and inefficient.
‘Furthermore, the guest rooms have been seeing strong occupancy figures and the applicant believes an increase in available rooms would further enhance sustainability of this popular business.’
Additional land has been purchased to the rear of the property and this is available for extra parking space.
The plans, if approved, would involve a single storey extension on the east side incorporating a revised cellar, staff room and an additional guest bedroom. To the west, a new two-storey extension would provide dining space on the ground floor and three additional guest rooms to the first floor.
At the rear, a new kitchen would be incorporated within a new single storey annex along with additional guest toilets and a private dining room and lounge area.