FOOD could be the secret to keeping a village’s pub alive.

Pencaitland’s Winton Arms is currently closed but newly approved plans suggest the introduction of cooked food could give it a future.

Caledonian Heritable Ltd was given the green light by East Lothian Council, with the Edinburgh-based developer outlining the need for things to change at the pub.

A spokesperson for the group said: “It is not always the case that when a public house closes its doors because it becomes financially unviable, it merely takes another landlord to give it a quick makeover then reopen.

“Sometimes the owner of closed public house premises is required by financial necessity to look at other uses that the buildings can be put to, or indeed whether the buildings can be taken down and something else such as housing built in their stead.

“In this case, the owner of the building has taken the view that this local public house has a future, but not in its present form, and that it can once again become a popular amenity for the local village.”

The pub already has a kitchen to prepare and cook food.

However, it was felt it was “not sufficient” to form the basis for re-opening the premises to the public.

Now, changes will be made indoors at the pub, with alterations to the location of the toilets, as well as space for al fresco dining.

Outside, an existing ancillary building and a small extension, used as a cleaners’ store, will be demolished.

East Lothian Council’s planning department approved the proposals, which did not attract any objections.

Ralph Averbuch, chairman of Pencaitland Community Council, described a village pub as “an institution” and hoped it could now cater more for a family market.