A NORTH Berwick restaurant could support up to 40 jobs if plans to allow it to trade all-year-round are approved.

Businessman Stirling Stewart has submitted proposals to East Lothian Council for an extension to The Rocketeer Restaurant, on Victoria Road, which includes a “glass sheet enclosure”.

The restaurant, which opened in 2012 at the town’s former coastguard station, currently shuts down for the winter months.

Mr Stewart, who also owns the Nether Abbey Hotel in the town, hopes to double employee numbers at The Rocketeer.

He told the Courier: “This summer we had 20 staff, six full-time and 14 part-time. We would expect this to double.”

A design statement submitted to the council reads: “This business has grown year-on-year; however, its problem has always been a lack of shelter. This application would allow us to open all year, increasing dramatically employment for local people and, as the great majority of our suppliers are based in East Lothian, this will have an added benefit. The new structure would allow us to seat 40 people and would mean we could open all-year-round for lunch and dinner.”

The Rocketeer Restaurant recently added Perspex canopies and windbreaks to help offer shelter to customers, but the new plans would allow the restaurant to open through the winter.

Mr Stewart said the change would “transform” his business.

He added: “It would make all the difference. The approval of this project would play a major part in the continued success of The Rocketeer as a North Berwick destination and local employer.

“I have been overwhelmed so far with the support I have received from the business and heritage communities, who appreciate the potential for further job creation while minimising the visual impact through the use of such an innovative design.

“The project team, led by local architect Somner Macdonald, has provided the aesthetic, technical and structural design input, together with construction expertise and experience, to ensure the development does not detract from the original former coastguard station, which was in a derelict state when I first took it on over seven years ago and which now provides year-round employment whilst further supporting local suppliers.”

But members of North Berwick Community Council (NBCC) voiced concerns.

Olwyn Owen was worried the glass structure would spoil the view of historic St Andrew’s Kirk while Sue Northrop said: “I think it would be a real shame to go down the beach and there are these lights spoiling the view.”

But Bill Macnair felt there was “nothing wrong” with the plans.

Tommy Todd, NBCC chairman, agreed to write to East Lothian Council voicing some concerns – but not objecting to the plans.