A MOVE to turn a former bank into a restaurant and two flats in Prestonpans has been given the green light after councillors overturned a decision by their officials.

Property developer Ross Brunton appealed to East Lothian Council’s local review body after planners refused his application for a change of use of the former Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) site on Ayres Wynd.

Planning officers pointed to a lack of parking at the site and said the proposed building, which would increase in height from one to two storeys, was not in keeping with its surroundings.

However, members of the review body ruled that the council’s parking policy could be overlooked if a proposal was likely to help regenerate the town centre.

Ward councillor Lachlan Bruce said: “It is evident Prestonpans High Street is in need of regeneration and, while I understand the points around parking, I think in this case the other consideration of regeneration should be given more weight.

“The character of Prestonpans town centre is not a particular style but is in its variety of buildings. I do not think this proposal will be unsympathetic to it.”

Fellow ward councillor Fiona O’Donnell agreed, saying: “This is a great opportunity; we have all these new houses being built and we do not want everyone heading to Musselburgh or Edinburgh to eat out.

“A restaurant will really give a focus to the town.”

The changes will see a restaurant created on the ground floor and two flats built above it with terraces looking out towards the Forth.

Mr Brunton earlier revealed at Prestonpans Community Council that he visualised the new restaurant being an Italian-style eaterie.

Planning officers confirmed to the review body that there were currently no other proposals to take the site forward. The councillors on the review body voted unanimously to uphold Mr Brunton’s appeal.