PLANS to convert a former post office building into a new Italian restaurant have been rejected by Somerset Council.

In November 2023, Mr Bruno Losha applied to change the use of the former post office in Wells Market Square to a restaurant.

Somerset Council refused the plans on Wednesday, March 27.

In the Planning Officer's reasons for refusal, the plans would cause 'less than substantial' harm to the character of the building and surrounding conservation area, and the harm 'would not be outweighed by any associated public benefits'.

They also wrote that the application failed to act in accordance with the Mendip District Local Plan (2006-2029).

The applicant hoped to make internal and external alterations to the Grade II Listed building, including re-painting the external render, removal of security bars, restoring dressed stone panels, provision of a new kitchen extraction vent and enlarging the windows on the rear elevation.Somerset County Gazette: The former post office building was set to become an Italian restaurant called Ravello.The former post office building was set to become an Italian restaurant called Ravello. (Image: Jamie Grover, Newsquest)

According to the applicant, these plans would have involved removing some utilitarian features from when it was used as a post office in order to create a 'light and welcoming' restaurant.

They added: "The proposed reconfiguration would unquestionably improve the aesthetics of the interior of the building and introduce a use which will contribute to the vitality of the town."

If plans were approved, the ground floor of the former post office building would have been converted to include seating for up to 64 people spread across 15 tables, as well as a kitchen area to the left hand side of the building. 

A bar would have also been installed on the right hand side, and other plans included men's, women's, and disabled toilets, a ground floor storage area, and a small first floor storage area.

Drawings submitted in the application show plans to install 'Ravello' signage above the front facing windows, as well as installing new wooden framed glass doors.

The proposed new branch of Ravello would have been the first in plans to franchise the Ravello business, as a restaurant already exists in Bradford on Avon, and has hundreds of five-star reviews.

One TripAdvisor review reads: "I really thought this Bruno guy was an amazing human being - very polite, who knows how to look after customer, not only himself. 

"Every single staff member was really amazing. I will definitely pass [by] just to have a nice meal and thank Bruno again."

For more information on the application, search reference 2023/2271/FUL on Somerset Council's online planning portal.