PLANS to convert a former bank into a bar and restaurant have taken a step closer to becoming reality.

The former NatWest bank, on the corner of Church Street and Grange Road in Malvern, already has planning permission to be converted into a restaurant and bar after the proposal was backed by Malvern Hills District Council last March.

The latest planning application asking for permission to sell alcohol as well as play live and recorded music has now been submitted.

The application asks for permission to sell alcohol between 8am and 11.30pm Monday to Saturday and 8am to 10.30pm every Sunday.

Live music could be performed between noon and 11pm between Monday and Saturday and noon and 10pm on a Sunday. Recorded music could be played between 8am and 12.30am Monday to Saturday.

Malvern businessman Mike Clarke, who is behind the plan, wants to call the bar and restaurant The Water Cure to celebrate the town’s history and famous mineral water.

The planning application said the vision for the bar and restaurant would be to create a venue which is currently unavailable in the town.

A statement said: “Our proposal is to convert the ground floor of the building into a stunning restaurant and bar, doing justice to its external appearance.

“We aim to create a type of venue which is currently unavailable in Malvern; one which will serve the interests of both residents and visitors. The emphasis will be on providing good quality, healthy food and drinks, with exceptional customer service.”

The building will also contain function rooms, which Mr Clarke envisages being used for classes such as pilates or yoga, small private parties and wedding receptions. It will also have two small rooms on the ground floor available for private hire for dining or meetings.

The plans were backed by Malvern Civic Society last year.

Stephen Goodenough, chairman of the society’s planning committee, said: “This building is a significant building within the conservation area and bringing it back into effective use could sustain the building and enhance the area. The Civic Society supports in principle this application and hopes that a successful business can be established.”

Richard Simmons, owner of the Montrose Hotel in Malvern, also supported the plan to open a bar and restaurant.

Responding to the planning application, he said: “I fully support this application for its welcome investment in the town and creating a high class venue in a key town location.”