A family run restaurant empire is set to expand in Durham following a £1.5m investment.
Bells Fish Shop, which has been running for a total of 60 years, is set to open its fourth operation on Finchale Road in Framwellgate Moor, following a deal facilitated by North East property firm Bradley Hall and BH Planning and Design.
Business owner Graham Kennedy, who has been in the industry alongside his wife Alleson for 32 years, has invested in the transformation of a former derelict car showroom into a 9,000sq ft restaurant, takeaway and preparation centre.
Commenting on the project, which will create 25 jobs, Graham said: “Over the past six years we have invested our time and funds into a strategic expansion drive across the region. This project is an exciting step for the business as we continue to grow the Bells Fish Shop brand.
“We are looking forward to the launch and replicating the success of our other restaurant and takeaways while building on our reputation and presence in the area.
“The team at Bradley Hall were an integral part of this milestone, including gaining planning permission and acquiring the units.”
The restaurant adds to operations in Market Square Durham City, Sunderland Road, Gilesgate, and Craggs Road Washington. Graham, who is as a qualified chef, launched his first takeaway at the age of 21.
BH Planning and Design director Mark Ketley said: “We are delighted to have secured planning permission for this scheme on behalf Mr Kennedy.
“The planning system is tasked with supporting investment and economic growth, and this is an exemplar proposal as the redevelopment of this derelict site will create new jobs for local people.”
The permission also includes provision for an additional retail unit on the site, representing a significant investment in the local economy and the opportunity to create much needed new jobs in the area.
Peter Bartley, group director at Bradley Hall, said: “We were delighted to assist Graham, who is a long-term client of the firm, with this project.
“This involvement from our commercial agency team alongside BH Planning and Design, our planning and design consultancy arm, is a perfect example of our full-service approach. With the recent and significant expansion of our business we are able to support clients with all property and financial matters to ensure a smooth and seamless process.”