THE owner of a new Oldswinford restaurant who has spent almost £1million transforming the run-down building is gutted after council planners refused its application for planning permission.

Costa Xiourouppa has spent £350k on buying the former Retreat on Hagley Road and £495k on converting it into a new Grill-It restaurant offering healthy Mediterranean grilled food.

It's a three-level modern restaurant with a roof terrace.

Stourbridge News: The bar at Grill-It in Oldswinford The bar at Grill-It in Oldswinford (Image: Newsquest)

But now after a string of complaints from neighbours and concerns over parking and "unsympathetic" changes which have removed the "historic character" of the building planners at Dudley Council have refused Grill It's application for change of use from a pub to restaurant and bar.

Costa, who runs two other Grill-Its in Wolverhampton, said he has created more than 25 jobs and wants to work with planners to come up with a solution.

The 43-year-old said: "The building was falling into disrepair. We have given it a future. The reaction we have had from people has been amazing - everyone who comes in says how nice it is.

"We have had over 100 five star reviews.

"The planners were unhappy with changes to the windows, but we have opened it all up. Nowadays people like visuals, to be able to look out or to go past and see inside. It brings light to the road.

"We had to open before we had planning permission as I couldn't afford to keep it shut."

Stourbridge News: Inside the new restaurant Inside the new restaurant (Image: Newsquest)

The application also seeks retrospective approval for conversion of the first-floor flat into a restaurant seating area, new windows, amendments to the ground floor patio area, creation of a first-floor roof terrace with retractable canopy and an external extraction flue.

A report by planners recommended refusal and enforcement action.

It raises concerns over historic windows being removed, parking and takeaways but Costa said the restaurant does not do takeaways through any apps - only a few customers who come in - and that Majestic Wines has been letting customers use its spaces when it is closed and the Bird In Hand pub has been helpful with parking. 

Thirteen objections were received with concerns over issues including parking, the roof terrace, which was previously only used for private accommodation, being used late at night, noise from extractor fans and the floor size of the restaurant having tripled.

Costa said the roof terrace, when closed up, is noise proofed and the windows would only be opened in warm weather and never after 9pm.

He said he has spent £20k on a modern flue, and will spend another £3k on adding additional silencing and changing the angle of it.

He said he is willing to make other changes to the exterior including painting historic features to make them stand out.

He said: "I want to go forward in a hopeful manner with the council as I'm just trying to earn a living."

Stourbridge News: The building has been renovated The building has been renovated (Image: Newsquest)Councillor Simon Phipps, cabinet member for regeneration and enterprise, said: “Following the decision to refuse planning permission, the council’s enforcement team is considering the most appropriate course of action.”

Stourbridge News: The Retreat closed down two years agoThe Retreat closed down two years ago (Image: Handout)