A well-known Italian businessman has been given the go-ahead for a new restaurant in Oswestry.

Enrico Vittone, whose plans for a new Italian eatery have been ongoing since June, has begun work on an old stationery shop after Shropshire Council granted planning permission.

Previously Lawrence’s Direct, the store in Cross Street has been transformed from a narrow space to an open area Mr Vittone hopes will seat around 65 people in the Roman-themed restaurant.

“There is a restaurant in Pompeii called Caupona, which we are hoping to twin with the new business in Oswestry,” said Mr Vittone.

“It is a themed restaurant that features the music, the dress and atmosphere of Ancient Rome. They also celebrate events in the Roman calendar, which is something I want to bring to Oswestry – I want reenactments to take place in the town to add to the theme.”

The Grade Two listed building was granted a change of use to a licensed cafe/restaurant and takeaway, where Mr Vittone plans to serve the same freshly-cooked Italian food offered in his previous business, Italiano Vero.

“The restaurant will offer fresh food every day and there will also be a hand-built wood-fired oven for freshly-cooked pizzas. There is nowhere in the area that offers a wood oven so it’ll be unique to the restaurant,” said Mr Vittone.

The businessman hopes the restaurant will be similar to that of a trattoria – an Italian-style eating establishment where there are no printed menus and prices are low.

There will also be five to seven full-time and part-time jobs available, and Mr Vittone already has big plans for the opening day.

“I hope to open just before Christmas and I plan to have 10 people dressed as Roman soldiers and give our customers the chance to wear togas,” said the restaurant owner.

“It’s been a long wait to get this plan under way but it will pay off. With constant determination and never giving up, I have managed to get here. It’ll be a lot of hard work but it will be worth it.”