THE boss of a Musselburgh fish and chip shop is hoping to net planning consent to take the business into the 21st century as a fish restaurant with oyster bar.

Carlo Crolla is proposing to transform a former hairdresser’s next to the family-run premises The Coral Reef at 173 North High Street into the new-look eatery.

The present takeaway, which would be retained, would be internally renovated and refitted as part of the project.

Mr Crolla said he and his wife Katia, who helps run the business, hoped to create a dining destination which would bring something completely new to the area.

He said: “Musselburgh holds a very special place in my family’s heart and we want to continue our journey in Musselburgh for many years to come.

“We truly believe we have the perfect location for this concept and are so excited that a dream can now become a reality.”

Mr Crolla’s family have owned the takeaway since 1974, after his dad Giovanni and mum Rosina took it over from Gavana’s, renaming it Giovanni’s Fish & Chicken Bar.

As their children became more involved, the name changed to Crolla Fish Restaurant and, after an extensive refit in 1999, to The Coral Reef.

Mr Crolla, who took over the reins of the takeaway in 2002, said: “Over the years we put our all into the business, working up to 90 hours per week each, sometimes up to seven days a week, morning, afternoon and late into the night.

“We have met and made friends with many residents of Musselburgh and those outside the town. We have also built up so many strong relationships with members of staff, many staying on with us for decades.

“I have lived my whole life in Musselburgh and grew up living in the flat above the shop. This allowed my parents to work those long, hard hours whilst having a young family.

“I remember having to jump up and down on the floor after an argument with my brother or sister to get my parents’ attention below.”

A planning statement, submitted to East Lothian Council by Edinburgh-based architects Format Design, stated that the new facility would be “a valuable addition”, complementing the nearby Brunton by offering “high-quality cuisine with a Scottish influence”.

It was felt the new restaurant would “energise the town centre” and improve the character of the area through the daytime and into the evening, fulfilling one objective of the Musselburgh Town Centre Strategy.

No external alterations are proposed and the cooking and food preparation for both properties would be carried out at 173 North High Street. The existing servery would be redesigned and new openings formed between the units to allow food to be served to the restaurant.

The unit at 171 North High Street would be a public seating/dining area only and would be fitted with a bar/servery which Mr Crolla intends to operate as an oyster bar.

The upper floor to the rear of 171 would be retained as a staff area and incorporate customer toilets. An accessible public toilet would be installed on the ground floor.

The existing shop front would be retained and there would be access to the front terrace area, where additional tables and chairs might be placed, weather permitting.