A café and flats plan has been approved on the site of a long-standing family run fruit and veg shop which had been based on Redcar High Street since the 1960s.

Mark Robinson, who took over Eileen’s after the death of his father 20 years ago, announced in January this year it was to close.

The businessman said the “time was right” and complained how Redcar had become a “ghost town” with not a lot of people shopping in the area and footfall dropping off.

Speaking in January, he said: “I want to close on my own terms before we are forced to, which would happen.”

A recently approved planning application submitted to Redcar and Cleveland Council by Mr Robinson envisages the ground floor, where the fruiterer was based, being subdivided into two units, one of which will house a café.

Mr Robinson, the last of five generations to run Eileen’s, previously said he planned to move Mike’s Café, which is currently housed on the first floor above the shop, onto the ground floor.

Another element of the plan foresees a four-storey extension to the rear of the premises to accommodate eight self-contained flats, which would also involve the partial demolition of a two storey adjoining warehouse

An additional floor level will also be added.

A design and access statement lodged with the local authority last year said the flats would have sea views, with their addition a “sensible solution” to securing the long-term future of the site and businesses contained within it.

The flats originally were to include balconies, although these have been removed from the proposal following an objection from a neighbour whose house on the Esplanade backs onto the site.

The statement described the existing site as once the location of an ice cream shop, before its conversion, and said the property was in a bad state of repair.

It said vehicle and pedestrian access were proposed to remain the same with a remote control access door being created allowing for the tenants to exit the flats to the rear and to gain access to bin collections.