Restaurant chain Buzzworks carried out building work without council permission on a Prestwick venue, a meeting heard.

Council leader Douglas Campbell accused the firm of “ignoring” steps in the building process.

The Ayrshire firm was ordered by the council to stop refurbishment work immediately at the former Elliots venue, as it undergoes a major makeover.

Buzzworks was planning to reopen the Main Street eatery and bar as Vic’s & The Vine at Easter.

The South Ayrshire Council licensing board heard the chain should have applied for a building warrant before work started.

It applied to the board for a variation of premises licence in relation to the refurbishment yesterday.

But councillors have postponed making that decision until a later date in light of the lack of building warrant.

Buzzworks Holdings chairman Colin Blair said the company hoped to get the doors of Vic’s & The Vine open in two to three weeks. Mr Blair said it was a “commercial concern” because of staff costs.

He said: “We shut a profitable business.”

But Councillor Campbell said: “There is a process about getting a building warrant, getting it approved and then starting work.” He accused the firm of “ignoring steps in the process.”

He added: “Our building control colleagues asked you to stop work and you just carried on anyway.” Earlier in the meeting Mr Blair said 75 staff from the venue had been displaced temporarily but are still being paid.

Mr Blair said he didn’t think they did anything wrong but admitted the method may be back to front. He said it worked for the commercial business.

He pointed out the business had been running for 40 years and had never operated any of its multiple businesses without full authority.

The entrepreneur said he has been working “closely” with building standards and there were only minor points still to be finalised.

He said a building warrant was expected within the next week. Solicitor Brian Dunlop said Main Street premises Elliots had not been refurbished for 17 years.

Board chair Councillor Craig Mackay said: “Before we can make a decision we expect the building warrant to be in place. They have failed to get a building warrant so it is difficult for us to approve the application as it stands.”