PLANS to convert an empty shop into a micro-bar have been given the go-ahead.

Test Valley Borough Council has approved plans submitted by Beertap Inns Limited to change the use of a former patisserie in Winchester Street to a drinking establishment, to “add to the vibrancy and community within Andover town centre”.

As previously reported, the application asked for permission for the venue to also be used as a craft ale off licence, offering local cask and keg ales alongside gin, Prosecco and wine. There would also be a selection of non-alcoholic drinks, coffee and tea, with cold food and snacks available.

The application was revised in May to correct the name of the company applying to make the changes to Beertap Inns, from Test Brewing, which was the company previously named in the Advertiser.

Beertap Inns said the location was chosen “to enhance the visitors and footfall to this area of the town, becoming a ‘destination’ social point, and thereby improving the foot-fall for other retailers. There is significant benefit to be gained from micro pubs of this nature”.

It was supported by John Buckley, pubs officer for North Hampshire Campaign for Real Ale, who said: “Such a small licensed unit would benefit the town.”

A report from a council officer recommended the application be approved, saying: “The proposed change of use would result in the enhancement and sustaining of the heritage asset as it would bring it back into use. The associated internal changes are considered minor and would not impact upon the significance of the heritage asset and the proposed external painting would not harm the character of the building.”

The size and layout of the premises would restrict the number of customers between 50 and 60, including staff, and it would open from 11am to 11pm Monday to Saturday, and noon to 10pm on Sundays.

The application states: “The intention is not to offer a noisy space but to encourage conversation and considered drinking, with quality ales being the focus.”

Beertap Inns would invite community groups such as book clubs to use the venue for meetings and as a social gathering point, and said: “The business is to cater for those that do not want the sometimes-oppressive atmosphere in the other drinking establishments in the town centre and for those who want to talk and enjoy a responsible drink and snack with friend, encourage conversation, community atmosphere and for those looking for a pre-dinner venue to meet, enhancing the overall offering of the town centre.”

The borough council approved the plans with the condition that the work is carried out within three years of the decision.