A FORMER Stockbridge oriental restaurant could be converted into flats after a proposal was submitted to planning chiefs.

Owners of the Black Bean, New Street hope to change the restaurant into two terraced houses and a flat.

The restaurant operated for more than 30 years before the current owners, who took over in 2006, were forced to close the restaurant in 2014 after 'substantial losses.'

A planning document said it had been run as a Thai/Chinese/Malaysian cuisine establishment and had changed owners and branding many times over the years.

However there was 'very little economic success', which was partly due to its location in a residential area with limited pedestrian traffic.

In the application covering letter, the current owners agent said: "Under the current owners, professional Wok skills are essential in this style of restaurant, and changes to immigration laws over the last five years has made staffing a real issue. 

"This problem can be observed nationally.

"After a substantial loss in both 2012 and 2013, [the owners] were forced to close the restaurant in June 2014.

"The site is currently unused and has been an empty commercial property for the last three years."

Currently the site also has a first floor flat as well as the restaurant.

Now the owners are looking to secure some financial stability for their future with the conversion.

The letter added: "They plan to live in one of the flats themselves for their retirement, and therefore it is very important to them that the project is designed and built to a high standard with the community in mind, having both been such a huge part of it for so many years."

For more information, visit view-applications.testvalley.gov.uk/online-applications/ and search for reference number 17/03160/FULLN.