IT’S full steam ahead for a business-savvy couple who have turned their attention to a new project following the success of their restaurant chain.

Stable founders Nikki and Richard Cooper, who recently bought By the Bay in Lyme Regis, submitted plans for its new design to the town council’s planning committee, which were discussed on Tuesday.

The couple are hoping to transform the Bay into the first of what they anticipate will be a new chain of beach café bars called SWiM, and have ambitious plans to renovate the Marine Parade restaurant.

They are investing heavily in the council-owned property, and plans discussed by councillors included removing ‘old and dated’ windows and introducing sliding and swing doors which, they believe, will make the most of the coastline views and sea air.

Cllr Jeff Scowen said he was confident that the new venue would be ‘doing a lot more in terms of music and events’ and so would be beneficial to the area.

“It’s a huge investment,” he said. “Clearly [Mr Cooper] knows what he is doing. You could not ask for a better location.”

Cllr Michaela Ellis said that as the building was council-owned, it was not appropriate to vote on the plans. However, no objections were made by any councillor.

The restaurant owners sold 51 per cent of the Stable to national brewery chain Fullers in 2014 and, according to Mr Cooper, they are selling their final stake of the business in March so they can concentrate on their latest project.

They hope to open SWiM in the second week of March and have set the bar high as they aim to make it the best chain of bars in the south west. Before this can happen, the building will be completely gutted and rebuilt with attention paid to all the design elements.

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Cooper said: “We are sailing pretty close to the wind but we are getting a lot of money into the building. We want it to benefit the town and hope we will bring something that is missing at the moment. We have a beautiful view of the south west coast and to look out, all along the Jurassic Coast, while sat with a nice drink will be absolutely amazing.”

Mr Cooper is planning a café bar, open between 8am and 11pm, with a bakery and facilities for live performances.

“It’s exciting,” he said. “It’s going to be about more than just serving food and beverages, it will be engaging with the local community.”