PLANS for a new restaurant, office and two flats at Custom House on Poole Quay have been created a year after it closed for business.

The previous owner, Mark Heffer, closed the premises in February 2017, after 21 years of trading, to concentrate on other business interests.

At the time, the closure put a spanner in the works for a couple due to get married at Custom House.

Gemma Gallacher was set to marry fiancé Sean Carmichael, but the couple received an email that the venue was closing – just three months before their big day.

Fortunately, the couple were approached by the Italian Villa at Compton Acres who offered them the venue when they read about their plight in the Daily Echo.

Now a planning application by Villottee Investments seeks to convert the Grade II listed building to create a first-floor office, two second-floor flats and a new restaurant on the ground floor.

The work would be mainly internal, with only a few, minor external alternations including the installation of two CCTV cameras, which would be painted to match the brickwork.

The restaurant would use the existing layout, with the kitchen and toilet facilities retained and refurbished.

The first floor office would be open plan, while the one-bedroom flats would feature open-plan kitchens, dining rooms and living room areas.

Pure Town Planning, which has composed a design and access statement on behalf of the application, says Custom House is situated “within a town centre location, where the upper floors of many historic properties have been converted to office and residential use.”

“Therefore the principal of the development would not cause due harm to the character of the Conservation Area,” they said.

They added the development would “continue to contribute to the vitality and vibrancy of the town centre and the area’s evening economy”.

“With the exception of the minor external alterations, the amount of development will remain unaltered at the site, as the current building is to be retained.

“As such, the scheme would not be harmful to the area’s character and local distinctiveness,” they said.

Pedestrian access to Custom House would remain from the quay and Paradise Street.

Custom House is a Georgian building that was listed in 1954.

The original Custom House was destroyed in a fire in 1813 and replaced in replica. The entrance steps leading up to the building were copied from the Guildhall.

The premises was historically used for office space. In April 1994 consent was granted to convert the ground floor into a cafe/wine bar. This was followed by further permission to convert the second floor into restaurant space.