WINCHESTER’S only Michelin-starred restaurant has applied for an extension.

An application has been lodged by the Black Rat, in Chesil Street, for a two-storey extension, which will house two new dining areas and a modern kitchen.

The proposal was originally submitted to Winchester City Council in May, but revised plans were submitted late last month.

Restaurant owners say that the extension will has been “designed to provide a focal point especially from the bottom of Wharf Hill”.

The application has been backed by customers of the “highly successful restaurant” and residents living nearby.

Robyn Wedderburn, of St Giles Close, said: “The design of the proposed extension looks absolutely stunning, and the increased space for the Black Rat will hopefully ensure long term growth and sustainability of an independent business in Winchester City, when so many others seem to have closed over recent years.”

And Ian Tait, of Bereweeke Road, wrote: “Although on first glance the new extension does look slightly too square to me, that said in view of the outstanding design of the adjoining Black Hole (by the same architect) I am certain that the style is actually the right solution for this building so I am fully supportive of the proposals.”

It has also got the support of the City of Winchester Trust, which said it “reflects the style of the Black Hole and the Black Boy and felt that the design was very appropriate in the context”, but the trust raised concerns about bin storage and disabled access.

However, the Winchester Design Review Panel has criticised the application calling for designers to go back to the drawing board.

A report read: “The current design would benefit from further refinement of details.

“It appears to mix elements from the Arts and Craft period with more restrained Victorian features and as a result this undermines its integrity somewhat.

“A stronger and more definitive design should be sought which creates a high quality building within a varied townscape setting.”

The proposal will now go before the council’s planning committee on Wednesday.

Cllr Kim Gottlieb, said that the extension “is complementary and makes the future use of the building more sustainable”.