Councillors in Durham have backed plans to transform former council headquarters in a multi-million pound new hotel.
Durham Country Council have given the green light for Grade-II Old Shire Hall, its base from the late 19th century to the 1960s, to be converted into an 18-bedrooms hotel, complete with fitness suite, spa, 150-cover restaurant, bar and coffee shop.
The Grade-II listed building was built in 1896 and has stood empty since Durham University moved out in 2012.
Businessman Shawn Crawley bought the building last year and has said he is now in talks with a major international hotel operator, who he was unable to name, but hoped an announcement could be made soon.
Old Shire Hall already had planning permission to become a 43-bed hotel with 29 apart-rooms and the new proposals were submitted following talks with the potential operator.
Planning Officer Alan Dobie said that Old Shire Hall was well suited to use as a hotel and Durham needed more hotel beds.
“This would bring an important building back into use and hopefully lead to further regeneration,” he said.