Village tea room is now open for business on the outskirts of Hartlepool
A new coffee shop and tea room has opened for business in Elwick village.
Cooper’s of Elwick has opened in the former village Post Office and shop after being closed for several years.
The new venture includes a shop selling a selection of groceries, and a tea room selling all locally made produce and snacks.
Owner Derek Cooper, who also runs The McOrville pub in the village said: “This is returning the shop to the village because it has been closed for three or four years.
“I have lived in the village for 30 years and socialised with people and it was needed without a shadow of a doubt.
“If you run out of a tin of tomatoes you have to drive four miles to get one.
“We sell a full range of cakes, scones and pastries, jams and chutneys. Everything is locally made and comes from within a few miles of here.”
The shop on The Green also sells takeaway coffee and snacks which Mr Cooper expects to appeal to commuters who pass through the village on their way to work.
He added: “The village needed it. I think it’s a viable business otherwise I would not be doing it.
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“Not everybody wants to go to a pub. People have been asking for months when it is opening.
“I have also had a lot of enquiries from cyclists and walking societies who would like to stop here.
“There is nothing better than sitting in the window watching the world go by.”
The building’s former living room has been converted into the tea room with several tables, and customers will also be able to sit in the courtyard during nice weather.
Mr Cooper successfully applied for planning permission for a change of use for the premises from Hartlepool Borough Council.
The venture was supported by Elwick Parish Council which described it as ‘a very important development’ for the village, added a further service and provided job creation.
Hartlepool Rural Neighbourhood Plan Working Group also backed the proposals.
Mr Cooper bought the building late last year. It had been shut since 2016 after the post office operation ceased, making the premises unsustainable.