A BUSINESSMAN'S offer to buy the old NatWest building has been accepted after the council withdrew from the sale.

Mike Clarke, managing director of AuraQ, said he was delighted that his offer for the site, in Church Street, Malvern, had been accepted.

Mr Clarke's original £376,500 offer for the property was rejected after he was outbid by Malvern Town Council.

However he was able to make another bid after councillors dropped their plans to buy the building because of a surveyor's report, which showed that the premises required excessive repairs.

Mr Clarke, of Hornyold Road, Malvern, said his second offer for the branch was 'much higher' and accepted by NatWest on Friday, February 2.

He said: "It's going to be a restaurant and bar, with some live music. We are trying to make it stunning. It will bring visitors in.

"I've invested in the building and Lottie [Mr Clarke's daughter] will be running her own business from it. The food will probably be quite different from what you can get elsewhere.

"The exterior probably won't change much it's already a very iconic building. A nice sign will be set up. The interior will reflect the exterior.

"When people walk in we want them to feel they have gone into something that's a bit special. I want people to go away and talk about it. I think this place will be different.

"There's probably going to be an outdoor area. There's a car park to the side and we are hoping we might be able to do something with that."

The businessman said the interior will likely be refurbished in an art deco style.

He hopes that the restaurant will open for the start of the summer, although he said that realistically the opening might have to be at the end of the season.

Mr Clarke, who works in Graham Road, said that the upstairs rooms of the building will be available for people to use for various purposes.

Malvern Town Council previously hoped to move its Belle Vue Terrace offices into the Church Street property.

A town council spokesman said: “The council is pleased to hear that this building has been purchased and hopes that it will be successfully used and maintained for the benefit of the town and its residents.”

Property agents GVA originally advertised the property for £275,000.