A ROW has broken out after a Weymouth harbourside restaurant changed the front of its historic building without planning permission.

The owners of Quayside Bar and Kitchen, Custom House Quay have recently replaced the traditional wooden latticed windows with large glass folding doors.

The building falls within a Historic England conservation area, which means it is protected due to its architectural importance.Dorset Echo: The windows as they used to lok Picture: Google MapsThe windows as they used to lok Picture: Google Maps

Concerns have been raised that if other premises follow suit the harbour could lose its unique charm to the detriment of the tourist economy.

Dorset Council confirmed at the time of writing that the authority had not received a planning application in relation to the work, which was carried out last week.

Dorset Echo: The restaurant was formerly Vaughan's Picture: Google MapsThe restaurant was formerly Vaughan's Picture: Google Maps

Pauline Crump, who is chairman of Weymouth Civic Society's planning committee, decried the move as 'appalling'.

She said: "We understand business are facing challenges, but if Weymouth Harbour loses its charm a great a great deal of the attractiveness of the town as a tourist destination will be damaged.

"If all the buildings along Custom House Quay had those doors it would change the character of the harbourside entirely, despite being in a conservation area - if this is allowed it will create a very strong precedent.

"For it to be happening without any kind of building consent is absolutely appalling."

Dorset Council confirmed that 'no planning application, registered or pending' had been made for the property, and that it is investigating allegations of a breach of planning permission.

A council spokesman said: "We can confirm that the Enforcement Team has received a complaint relating to an alleged breach of planning control at 6-7 Custom House Quay. It has been recorded for an investigation."

The premises was originally a warehouse but the building has been home to several popular restaurants over the years, previously operating as The Sea Cow and Vaughan's before becoming the Quayside Bar and Kitchen.

As reported, the restaurant was recently targeted by a burglar who broke in and fled with the till drawer.

Commenting at the time of that incident, the restaurant manager said a refurbishment was planned to improve security, including restoration work on doors and windows.

The restaurant refused to comment about the building work, but said a planning application had been submitted.