ONE of Brighton’s leading restaurants could become one of the city’s most unique eatery with its expansion plans.

Japanese-restaurant Moshimo has submitted new plans for a major £4 million expansion at their existing Brighton home.

Restaurant owners Karl Jones and Nicholas Rohl suffered a setback last year when the proposals for their “lantern in the sky” restaurant were rejected by planning officers but they have come back for second, returning to the drawing board to realise their vision.

The pair are hopeful that if they are successful this time around the five-storey restaurant could be in place within a year if work begins in March.

Conservationists remain sceptical about the plans which they say will be an “overpowering eye-sore”.

The new building would become home to an independent 130-cover restaurant to Moshimo and a versatile space for a range of uses including a city skyline wedding venue.

The structure will be built offsite in Littlehampton and then brought into place by a £1 million crane in a bid to minimise disruption to thie existing restaurant and their Bartholomew Square neighbours.

Mr Jones said the unusual construction would mean the square would not be covered in a “forest of scaffolding” for months while adding Moshimo could not afford to close for a long period of time.

It will take three days to install the three sections within a maximum five day window because of the high costs of the crane.

Any winds above eight knots would prevent the crane from operating.

Mr Jones said: “We have refined it an awful lot.

“We had no objections with the original application which was fantastic but there were some issues when we started looking at some of the detail with the council so we have gone back to the drawing board.

“We have refined how it fits in with the buildings behind it and how we make best use of space for everybody.

“It’s going to be an amazing space that is going to be very versatile rather than something where we will need to churn out hundreds of covers every day.

“People like to talk about a landmark building and it certainly will be that.”

Roger Amerena of the Brighton and Hove Heritage Commission said: “I still have serious reservations about the design, it will be an eyesore.

“It is right in your face, it will be overpowering to the town hall, it’s too high for the area.

“If they are going to go modern then let’s have a good architect, Rem Koolhaas has already had one commission at Brighton College so a second one isn’t unfeasible.”