NEW jobs have been created on Portland with the opening of a waterside eatery on the site of a closed restaurant.

The Harbour Lights bar and restaurant will open tomorrow at Portland Marina five months after The Boat That Rocks suddenly closed.

Husband and wife team Nigel and Ysanne Williams, who hail from Lancashire, will run a bistro, bar and restaurant.

They are taking on 20 staff members, including training four young assistant managers who wish to have a career in hospitality.

Around 200 applications were received for the roles.

Mr Williams said: “We see this as a career for the people we are taking on.

“Nearly everyone we have employed is local to Weymouth and Portland.

“We want all the guide books to find us and we want Michelin to pay us a visit.”

The couple met at a fashion show and ending up buying a small hotel in Blackpool.

They then turned 17th century coaching inn the Spreadeagle in Sawley, Lancashire, into a popular gastro pub, which they sold in 2008 before retiring to Dorset.

Mrs Williams, a former belly dancer and ballerina, hopes Harbour Lights becomes a popular destination for locals in the off season.

She said: “We bought it at the right time of year so we can work our way into the summer.

“We know it’s going to go mad in the summer, but we want to keep it busy in January and put on promotions that we know are going to appeal to the locals.

The couple describe the direction they are taking the eatery in as ‘going off piste’, with plans to introduce an ale specially brewed in Cornwall.

Harbour Lights will offer an a la carte menu, breakfast and light lunches.

Weddings will be held at the venue, with the upstairs function room refurbished and sponsored by champagne firm Perrier-Jouet.

Local suppliers will be used and the bar and restaurant is to join the Weymouth and Portland Chamber of Commerce.