A POPULAR Tyne Valley restaurateur is expanding his business empire in the North Tyne.

Titu Ahad, owner of Saathi's and Indus Valley in Hexham and formerly Spice Valley in Allendale, will operate a new takeaway in Bellingham after receiving approval this week.

The proposal, submitted by locals Val and Jonty Hutchinson, was welcomed by residents, with 25 letters of support stating that the development would support local jobs, the local economy, the community and tourism development.

Speaking on social media this week, Val said: “ We are delighted that Titu, who runs Saathi and Indus Valley in Hexham is finally coming to Bellingham with his experience and excellent food."

Titu added: “ My team and I are absolutely ecstatic and excited about this project. I’m glad five years of planning hasn’t gone to waste and I’m raring to go.”