Council bosses are monitoring the situation around a potential 'change of use' for a pub and restaurant which came under fire for cancelling diners' Christmas meals last year.

The Sorn Inn has had locals guessing their next move for around a year after a series of closures and re-openings.

The Chronicle has recently been contacted by a member of the public claiming that work was taking place at the venue without the required planning permission.

East Ayrshire Council says that is not the case - but that its officials are monitoring the situation to ensure that no work that needs planning permission is carried out without the local authority's approval.

The Sorn Inn website currently says that the bar and restaurant are closed for "refurbishment and modernisation."

A council spokesperson said: "The council’s planning service was made aware of the current owner’s intentions and attended on site, where they viewed the work carried out in the current bar to the front of the premises.

"Whilst those limited works in themselves don’t require planning permission, the owner was advised that his proposal would constitute a change of use, which would require planning permission.

"He was accordingly advised to make the necessary application to obtain consent before proceeding further, which he agreed to do.

"A subsequent visit has been made to the premises to view works carried out on the upper level to transform the original hotel rooms into one modern open plan apartment/ suite.

"Further advice will be provided to the owner by the planning service regarding any further permissions required for this work.

"On this basis, this would not be regarded as a live enforcement case at this time, but should the owner at any time proceed with any unauthorised works then that would obviously change our position."

Diners were angered over the Christmas period by an unannounced closure of the restaurant - with some claiming their bookings had been cancelled with no notice, prompting an apology from the owners.

The business was also advertised for sale online.

It remains on the website of Christie & Co, which had been marketing the venue, but is no longer visible on the Rightmove website.

READ MORE: Popular East Ayrshire restaurant still trading as liquidator appointed

Liquidators were also appointed to the Sorn Inn Ltd earlier this year, shortly after a new business - Ayrshire On A Plate Ltd - was registered to the Sorn Inn's address.

Online records on the Companies House website state that a voluntary liquidator - David McGinness of French Duncan in Glasgow - was appointed on March 8 this year.

Ayrshire On A Plate Limited had been incorporated five weeks previously, on February 1, 2022.

Sorn Inn bosses said earlier this year that "Ayrshire On A Plate is the new restaurant at the Sorn Inn".

The Sorn Inn have been contacted about the work ongoing at the restaurant and bar.