EXCITING plans for Abbot House have finally been approved as the Dunfermline landmark gets ready to open once again.

The long-awaited renovation of the iconic pink building in the town centre has been granted planning permission from Fife Council and it could now welcome back the public by the end of the year.

Lynn Gemmell, Abbot House board trustee, said: "I'm delighted that we can finally get started with the hands-on work and inject some life back into this much-loved building."

It was last used as a heritage centre but closed due to financial problems in August 2015.

The team behind the plans to bring the Maygate venue back to life aim to complete the project in phases, starting with the opening of the 'Welcome Hub' in the east wing.

The hub will welcome tourists and locals, telling the story of Abbot House and provide an insight into its scheduled renovation work.

There will also be an artisan pop-up shop to provide a taster of the local products that will be available through the retail area prior to its opening.

Use of the east wing will allow limited access to Abbot House whilst the renovation works begin both externally and in the main part of the building.

Phase one of the renovation will incorporate the entire ground floor and kitchen on the first floor, including the café, retail area, bakery and internal and external toilets.

It will also include the replacement of the 1960s external stair, incorporating a platform lift for disabled access to the first floor, which is earmarked for opening in winter this year.

Phase two of the project will follow after the ground floor has opened and will feature a "high-quality but relaxed restaurant, whisky snug, events space and additional accessible toilets".

The Press previously reported in January that one of "Scotland's best chefs" was going to head up the new restaurant but mystery still surrounds the cook's identity.

The tendering process for Abbot House is being led by quantity surveyor Brian Moore and heritage experts Adams Napier Partnership. Once contractors are appointed and building warrants are granted, the work can commence with grant funding already secured from Historic Environment Scotland, Fife Environment Trust, Fife Council, Architectural Heritage Fund and Carnegie Dunfermline Trust.

A category A-listed townhouse, Abbot House dates back to the 16th century and was one of the few buildings left standing after the Great Fire of Dunfermline in 1624.