A FORMER bank in Poole town centre could reopen as a Japanese and Korean café and takeaway.

Kokoro is set to move into the unit in Falkland Square, High Street, which was previously occupied by TSB.

The bank branch closed in October 2020 as part of a set of national cuts and the site has been vacant ever since.

The restaurant chain, which offers homemade sushi and hot food, has submitted two separate planning applications to BCP Council for internal and external works of the unit.

The proposals include the change of use of the premises, new signage, interior refurbishment and new kitchen extraction system.

A planning statement submitted in support of the applications said: “Internally the works are predominantly cosmetic and carried out on the ground floor primarily – the works are to fit out the space to form a new sushi and bento café takeaway – utilising the existing layout and services available.

“There will be a new seating area to the front and ‘sushi chilled displays’ to one side.

“There will be a counter towards the middle and the kitchen and services areas to the rear.”

Founded by Rak-Kyu Park, the company’s first branch opened in Kingston-Upon-Thames in 2010. was Kokoro has more than 50 restaurants across England and Scotland. Most of these are in London although a Bournemouth franchise opened in Old Christchurch Road in summer 2020.

The planning statement added: “Their company ethos is to set up and provide a sushi cafe that also offers a range of freshly made hot food with a Japanese and Korean influence with the aim to benefit customers looking for an alternative to the day-to-day pasta, sandwiches or salads.

“Set within a clean, fresh and well-presented interior. All food is freshly prepared daily on the premises.

“Together the design and offer we feel will be a great addition to street scene providing a unique offer and benefit the area positively.”

Both applications are currently being considered by BCP Council’s planning department. Residents have until late June to leave comments on the local authority’s planning portal.