A PLAN to turn a former clothes shop into a restaurant has been lodged with East Lothian Council.

Kazim Aslan is hoping to get planning consent for the new venture at the High Street property which he owns.

The shop, just west of the Shorthope Street junction between Subway and Santander, was previously a fashion retail unit called Sahara which has been closed for more than a year.

A supporting statement, submitted with the planning application by Edinburgh-based Format Design, said “The proposal is to change the use of the vacant class 1 retail unit to a class 3 restaurant. There is to be no takeaway element within the restaurant.

“There are no external alterations proposed other than the installation of a flue to the rear of the shop extension. The existing shopfront will be retained as existing. No plans have yet been made for a corporate identity, but if advertisement consent is required, then a further application will be submitted.

“The public seating area would be located in the front shop area, which sits within the footprint of the original tenement, and it will have space for around 40 covers.”

It adds: “The applicant considers that the proposed class 3 use would be a valuable addition to the town centre and would compliment the surrounding uses. The proposal would satisfy this market and improve the character of the area through the daytime and into the evening.

“The creation of a new restaurant will be a positive asset to the character and vitality of the town centre, and will help to extend people’s stay within the town centre.”

An East Lothian Council spokesperson said a decision on the plan was expected early this year.

No details have yet emerged on the kind of restaurant proposed.