Local planners have given their blessing to the conversion of Portland’s last bank into two homes.

Tim Clark, who lives next door in Easton Square, bought the property and has already started converting the former bank into a two-bed and a three-bed home.

He told Dorset Council planners on Thursday he made the move because he did not want to see the building converted to flats and had sought to protect the historic nature of the building.

His retrospective application was approved by councillors on the recommendation of planning officers, although Portland Town Council had objected. They said the building should be retained for commercial use.

Wyke Regis councillor Kate Wheller said that she and Portland councillor Paul Kimber had tried to persuade Lloyds to change their minds about closure, without success, and had then tried to attract another bank to the island – also without success. She said that even a 5,000 signature petition had not helped the argument.

“It’s terrific to see it back in use after being empty for some time and these are just the size of houses we need,” she said.

Planning officers said the conversion enhances the appearance of the conservation area and will provide additional local homes. Their report said they were content that everything which could have been done to market the property for commercial use had been tried. All three bids for the property sought to use the site for housing, two of them for conversion to flats.

The application from Mr Clark includes a single storey rear extension and changes to some of the windows with the addition of three roof lights and the construction of a storage area for bins.