AN application has been lodged which would see a former pub in Prudhoe turned into a restaurant.

The Fox and Hounds pub on South Road closed on February 28, after the brewery that owned the building sold it.

And rumours circulating round the town have proved true, with the revelation that the application would see the pub become an Oli and Joe’s Italian restaurant, a small chain of Italian restaurants that has three other outlets in the North-East.

Applicant Skender Lata explained why he decided to open a new branch in Prudhoe.

He said: “I had a restaurant in Ryton that had to close.

"We knew that customers were loyal to Oli and Joe’s – we had some people come to the one in Westerhope.

“We were searching for good places in towns like Hexham and Prudhoe, when I decided to just buy the property and turn it into a restaurant.”

Skender had been hoping to open the restaurant by summer, but the coronavirus crisis has forced a rethink on the plans.

A winter opening time is now targeted.

Skender continued: “Nobody thought this was going to happen, but we’re carrying on with the work.

“We were going to open in summer, but because of the situation we’re now looking to get open by Christmas.

“It will be a 40 to 60 seater restaurant, so not too big – we will see how many we can get in.

“It needs a bit of work, a good tidy up. The building is a bit run down.”

If approved, the application would also see the installation of decking and a fence, while a second application has been lodged to create an aluminium panel with vinyl detail to advertise the business.