A £1m Wetherspoon pub is set to open in the heart of Waterlooville.
After almost two years of speculation, JD Wetherspoon has confirmed it has exchanged contracts for the purchase of the Mr Cheap shop in London Road.
The pub giant plans to transform the building, with a new front and outdoor timber decking.
The new bar and restaurant will be built next door to The Heroes pub.
The town gets its name from the pub, originally called ‘The Heroes of Waterloo’, as according to local legend weary soldiers returning from the Battle of Waterloo stayed there and eventually settled.
Business leaders welcomed the investment, but were not sure the town needed more pubs.
Rosemary Wilson, chairman of Waterlooville Business Association, said: ‘Wetherspoon coming to Waterlooville is a good idea. Originally they were going to go where Woolworths was. It will bring new life to the town, but so close to The Heroes seems a bit ridiculous. Then again, it could boost trade for both of them.
‘But there so many places to eat in Waterlooville at the moment.
‘We could have done with a major store to bring more people to the town.’
Mr Cheap closed its doors last week. JD Wetherspoon has been granted planning permission to open a pub on the site and now has three years to complete the work before it would need to re-apply for planning permission.
The £1m investment comes on top of a £700,000 scheme by Havant Borough Council to spruce up the northern half of the precinct where the new pub will be.
Jeff Crate, the council’s business development team leader, said: ‘Wetherspoon will be a welcome addition to Waterlooville. Together with the recently-announced landscape improvements in this area of the town centre Wetherspoon will enhance the night economy and attract shoppers to the north end of the London Road precinct.’
Eddie Gershon, spokesman for JD Wetherspoon, added: ‘We are pleased that planning has been granted for Wetherspoon to develop the Mr Cheap site into one of its pubs. We still need to complete the purchase of the site and trust that it will take place in the coming weeks. We believe that a Wetherspoon pub in Waterlooville will be good for us as well as a financial boost for the town.’
The pub does not have a name yet. The planned opening hours are 10am to 11.30pm every day.