A HOTEL and restaurant in a former care home will be opened to the public tomorrow.

A VIP evening at Hotel 52, in Joicey Square, Stanley, is being held tonight for invited guests and civic dignitaries.

Diners will be welcome to use the Italian restaurant from Friday, and the 23 bedrooms are ready for guests.

The £1.4m facility, in Stanfield House, also has a coffee lounge and meeting facilities.

Durham County and Stanley Town Councillor Carl Marshall said: “The development brings back into use an empty building in a key location in Stanley and I am delighted that the development will create over 20 local jobs.

“It is great to see the redevelopment of buildings across the town, and Home Bargains and Aldi will also help to redevelop key parts of our town centre.

“I am sure the hotel will be well used by local businesses and visitors alike and its pleasing to see companies investing in our area.”

The former Durham County Council care home was closed in 2011 and sold two years later.

Previous proposals to transform Stanfield House into studio flats and a training centre were scrapped over concerns they were not viable.

North Durham MP Kevan Jones said: “This is an excellent development for the Stanley area, which I warmly welcome.

“Attracting visitors to our beautiful area of the country provides a boost to the local economy, and will bring much-needed jobs to the area.”

All Saints Living, the Newcastle-based property developer behind the development, has said the hotel will target the tourist trade with visitor attractions nearby.

Hotel manager Natalie Forrest said: “Our new hotel will offer a more budget-boutique offering to guests travelling to the area.

“The hotel is situated only a ten minute drive from the Beamish Open Air Museum and located close to the historic city of Durham and the vibrant city of Newcastle, which is perfect for guests looking to explore the North-East of England.”