PLANNING permission has been formally granted to Italian restaurant Prezzo to open a restaurant in Malvern town centre next month.

In October the Malvern Gazette reported that the chain had been confirmed as the firm planning to convert adjacent units on Belle Vue Terrace into a restaurant.

A planning application was submitted in March, and approved in July, but Prezzo did not confirm its involvement in the proposal until the end of October.

Malvern Hills District Council's planning authority has now approved a change of use application to convert it from retail and financial services use into the restaurant. Listed building consent was also given by Malvern planners for alterations to be made to the building.

The chain is investing £700,000 into the restaurant, which will create 15 new jobs - a mix of full and part time positions.

Prezzo spokesman Eddie Gershon said: “We are looking forward to opening our new restaurant in Malvern.

“We believe it will be a welcome addition to the town’s eating out and social scene.”

The spokesman added that the restaurant is set to open on December 15.

The premises was formerly occupied by an insurance company and a curtain shop, and the planning permission previously gained for the scheme also includes the conversion of the upper floors of the building into flats.

Ask Italian opened up in premises just a couple of minutes' walk away on Belle Vue Terrace in the summer of 2008.