PLANS for a new restaurant, bar and delicatessen in the centre of Helensburgh have been warmly welcomed this week.

Scottish grocery chain Peckham's wants permission for a 'change of use' of the premises at 48 Sinclair Street to provide a licensed restaurant, bar, retail licensed delicatessen and function suites, with short-term rented rooms and apartments on the upper floors of the building.

The application also seeks the green light to carry out internal alterations to the building, which has Category B listed status, and to add external seating areas to the front and rear of the property.

Helensburgh Central councillor Aileen Morton, whose policy brief with Argyll and Bute Council includes both economic development and strategic tourism, said: “As this is such a substantial building right in the heart of the town centre it’s very welcome to see the details of this application come forward.

“The scale of development proposed is a vote of confidence in Helensburgh’s growing reputation as a destination for dining and shopping and sees private sector investment build on the council’s town centre work.

“Obviously it will be a matter for the planning committee to consider the specifics of this application but it would be great to see this kind of ambitious proposal add to the great range of restaurants and shops already available in Helensburgh.”

A spokesperson for Helensburgh's Chamber of Commerce said: "The building is probably one of the first impressions for people arriving in town by train, so obviously we are delighted that it is not going to lie empty for a prolonged period of time, gradually deteriorating.

"It is an historic building and it must be handled with sensitivity, but for many years it has been underused and has suffered from the difficulties in providing full access to a multilevel building with no lift provision.

“On the face of it the Peckham's plan seems to deal with all the issues and hopefully will provide a bright and lively focal point for the town centre. bringing people in from Glasgow and the surrounding area and adding to the buzz."

The Sinclair Street premises are currently under offer after being advertised for sale last year by the council, which sought offers for the building over £220,000.

It was one of several council properties in Helensburgh which were put on the market by the authority in 2015 to help fund the new Civic Centre on East Clyde Street.

A council spokesperson said: "The Municipal Buildings, properties at 48-50 Sinclair Street and the Marriage Room are presently under offer.

"Scotcourt House remains available for rent or sale and Blairvadach remains up for sale - with expressions of interest being taken by our agents."

Peckham's director Tony Johnston declined to comment in detail about the plans for the property, but said he would be happy to speak about the project nearer to its completion.

“The project is still in its infancy with many statutory permissions still to be satisfied,” he said.

Peckham's was established in 1982 and currently has branches in Byres Road and Hyndland Road in Glasgow; the firm also operates an online hamper ordering service.

* What do you think of thePeckham's proposal for the building? Email with your thoughts.