The Tyneside-based Noble Organisation has been granted the first new liquor licence in Sunderland for more than 11 years.

It has a £5m plan to turn the disused ABC cinema in Park Lane into a nightclub, restaurant and bar.

The licence brings new hope that other pub operators will be tempted into the city.

Sunderland council is planning a £500m scheme to transform the city centre, including turning the former West Sunniside Post Office into a huge late-night bar and restaurant.

The main way to open new premises

until now has been to transfer old licences from other establishments.