A CHESTER city centre restaurant is looking to expand its premises, taking over what was once a betting shop.

Upstairs at the Grill, opposite sister business Barlounge on Watergate Street, has submitted plans to convert what was once the neighbouring Corbett Sports bookmakers, and currently an empty building, into part of the restaurant's expanded kitchen.

It would also see more increased seating at the restaurant, planning documents submitted to Cheshire West and Chester Council explain.

A change of use is requested for the vacant No 74 Watergate Street building from a bookmakers to a restaurant, as part of the proposal.

The empty building which Upstairs at the Grill is looking to convert into part of its restaurant.

The empty building which Upstairs at the Grill is looking to convert into part of its restaurant.

Planning consultants Henderson Heritage say Upstairs Grill, at the former Customs House, is a Grade II-listed building and the proposal would be "for minor internal and external works".

Internally, works would be carried out "to better facilitate the flow of space for restaurant use", while external works would improve the look of the building that was once a betting shop, explaining: "No 74 Watergate Street to the west includes a poor-quality shopfront that detracts from the building's setting and the high townscape value of Watergate Street."

The interior of the currently vacant building would be turned into part of the restaurant's larger kitchen area, while there would be a more open-plan dining area.

There is a proposal to remove a section of the wall between the ground floor rooms and to create a slightly wider opening to the first-floor room, retaining all decorative cornicing and functional use of space.

Planners state: "It is considered that the proposed creation of a more open plan eating area would not adversely diminish the character of the building, when assessing the previous approved schemes and the more recent advice on plan form from Historic England.

"The functions will still be retained in the room, but it would facilitate more tables and chairs, which is critical for the business operations of Upstairs at The Grill. The ambience of the dining experience at Upstairs at The Grill remains very important.

"The floor coverings are modern and will be re-laid in herringbone parquet style flooring. This would be marked in a different colour at the wall junction to denote the footprint of the wall. This approach would allow the original plan form of the building to be read and would allow for the reinstatement of the wall at a later date.

"This could be conditioned specifically to the business. Whilst the proposal is not necessary to sustain the current use of the building, it would substantially enhance the beneficial use of the building as a restaurant in an important Grade II listed building.

"This will involve a significant degree of investment into the building. Thus, investment extends to major repairs to the parapet and crest, which will be undertaken in the next financial year."

Upstairs at the Grill, Watergate Street, Chester.

Upstairs at the Grill, Watergate Street, Chester.

Planners conclude: "The proposals overall are a sensitive intervention to this building which will preserve the character. It will promote footfall along Watergate Street, which has a positive effect on the building and the wider street network.

"It would positively affect the ability to appreciate and understand the special architectural and historic interest of the building and is considered to be an evolutionary process of use."

Comments on the application, reference number 21/01551/FUL, can be made on Cheshire West and Chester Council's planning website.

Plans such as these can be viewed in The Standard's Public Notices section, both online and in the paper.