A POPULAR seafront restaurant that was bulldozed after becoming embroiled in a six-year planning wrangle is finally trading again.

Swanage’s Gee Whites bar was torn down last October, two years after Purbeck District Council’s planning department ruled against retrospective permission for its existing thatched canopy.

Owner Mick Storer threw in the towel and called in the builders after a last-minute deal to allow Gee Whites to remain as it was failed to materialise.

The new-look restaurant/bar has been trading for two weeks, but won’t be fully open until the upstairs area is ready for customers on May 15.

Mick told the Daily Echo: “We’re just been easing ourselves in slowly. The architect and the planers worked together on this and came up with a design, which I’ve got to say, initially, I wasn’t that pleased with. But now it’s finished I can see the architect definitely got it right.

“The building is impressive. All the regulars liked the old building, but they certainly appreciate the new one as well.

“We’ve tried not to lose any of the atmosphere of the old place and we haven’t really put our prices up either, like a lot of places do when they reopen.

“I’m really happy, I know it’s been a few years but at the end we’ve got ourselves a pretty good result.”

Gee Whites had been at the centre of in a planning dispute since 2007, when Mick first erected a thatched pagoda. Over the years hundreds of customers have written letters of support for the restaurant.