A PUB in the centre of Haddington has been given the green light to transform its rarely used upstairs lounge and bar.

East Lothian Council agreed to the proposals for the Mercat Hotel, which will see five bedrooms created and used as a house of multiple occupancy (HMO).

A shared living room, kitchen and shower room will also be created at the High Street building.

The ground floor bar is not affected by the proposals and will continue to trade as usual.

The planning officer’s report, which was released last month, noted that no members of the public had objected to the plans, which were submitted by Ryan Bayhnam.

The report noted: “The use of the first floor of the property in multiple occupation is a residential use above ground floor level and therefore in principle is compatible with the town and local centre.

“Such multiple occupation use, as a form of residential use, is one that inherently should not generate extraordinary activity harmful to the residential character and amenity of neighbouring residential properties in the locality.”

The second floor of the building is already used as HMO accommodation.

A design statement was included with the plans, which highlighted the reason for the change of use.

It said: “The upper floor lounge/bar has become increasingly redundant in recent years and is now rarely open for public use, with dwindling numbers using the bar when it does open.

“The lounge/bar has not served food for a number of years.

“The applicant has advised that the upper lounge/bar is no longer financially viable and as such would seek to find an alternative use in order to make best use of the space.”