A MOVE to transform a former bank in Tidworth into a restaurant has been welcomed.

Plans to transform the empty Lloyd’s Bank site, in Station Road, has been given the go-ahead by Wiltshire Council.

The bank closed in July 2017 and has remained empty, but now a restaurant will occupy the ground floor of the premises and two studio flats will be constructed on the upper floor.

The scheme was approved on February 15, however, planning chiefs have put restrictions on the project, with the applicant having to carry out a noise impact assessment and install a security gate and a privacy screen.

Within the plans, it states: “The building occupies a prominent location on the street which currently hosts a variety of businesses and building uses including various commercial premises including food service units, shops, motor repairs and charity shops; there are also a number of residential units occupying the upper stories of the buildings.

“The building is currently vacant following the closure of the Lloyd’s Bank branch leaving a key building on the high street empty.

“The proposals are in our opinion a positive addition to the area in terms of additional housing stock, a new business, a positive addition to the streetscape, an economic benefit to local trades and suppliers and a high quality example of complimentary contemporary design.”

And the new business has been welcomed by town mayor Councillor Mark Connolly.

Cllr Connolly said: “Certainly it is better than having a big empty building, but it depends on whether it is a fast food café or a place for people to sit down at. We have got a couple of cafés on that road and a lot takeaways, if it is a proper sit down it will offer some variety.

“Lloyd’s Bank has been closed for two years, it is a big plot so it needs to be a reasonable size restaurant for it to work.”

It is expected that the restaurant will cater for around 50 customers, with the applicant adding: “This figure is thought to be the number required to provide a sustainable and economically successful business.”

Fifteen jobs are also set to be created from the business.