A former "eyesore" building in High Wycombe town centre that is undergoing a huge overhaul could partially be turned into an Italian restaurant and gelateria.

The former Ottakar’s book store in White Hart Street was in a poor state after years of neglect by an offshore absentee landlord and was described as an "eyesore" by Wycombe councillors.

When it finally went up for sale in 2019 the then Wycombe District Council moved quickly to buy it in a bid to revamp it.

Bucks Free Press: How the building used to lookHow the building used to look

Visitors to the town centre will have seen the ugly old empty shop replaced with a much more modern building - and although we knew it was set to have use as offices and a restaurant or bar, Buckinghamshire Council has now revealed what we can expect to see there.

A spokesman confirmed the ground floor of the new building is being fitted out as an Italian restaurant and gelateria.

The first floor design studio offices, now known as 11 Bull Lane because access is from this side road, are on the market for letting.

Bucks Free Press: The new building has a distinctive facadeThe new building has a distinctive facade

Renovation work over the nine months up to December 2020 included completely replacing the original glazed external façades and flat roof and installing a new shopfront set back from the pavement to create a covered seating area, plus a perforated bronze coloured sun screen with leaf pattern design.

Glazed rooflights to the first floor have been re-opened.

Because of the current coronavirus situation, an opening date has not yet been set, but the council said this will be something to look forward to as part of their ongoing plans to regenerate the town centre.

Bucks Free Press: How the office space upstairs looks nowHow the office space upstairs looks now

Cllr John Chilver, Buckinghamshire Council's cabinet member for property and assets, said: “These improvements reflect the council’s ongoing commitment to regenerating our high streets.

“I’m hearing from all sides that people really like the look of the building and I am not surprised – with its gold leaf façade it is a stunning addition to the town centre.

“While we will have to wait to sample the food, it is heartening to be able to offer some good news for Wycombe shoppers and diners.”