A PUB in the centre of Fareham is to undergo a £275,000 refit to become part of a high street chain.
The move to transform the Vanguard, in West Street, into a Slug and Lettuce pub will also create 30 jobs.
The pub, which is partly in an old church, was bought by chain Stonegate in December as part of a package of 78 pubs purchased from the administrators of the Bramwell Pub Company.
People in Fareham yesterday were of a mixed opinion about the change.
Sarah Macey, 34, from Gosport, said it might encourage her to visit more often.
‘I quite like the idea, it’s in a church and it’s a Slug and Lettuce, which I like. I look forward to it,’ she said.
Phill Craven, 44, from Eastwood Avenue, Fareham, said he was in two minds about the change as he thought it was good the building would not be empty but he was worried it might force more local pubs to close down.
Mr Craven said: ‘The trouble started in Fareham with Wetherspoons. I’ve seen my two local pubs close. It’s a fine line — do you want a big chain or do you want to support your local where the ambiance is better and it’s more customer focused?’
Fareham resident Alastair Malone, 56, said: ‘I don’t mind, I always go to Wetherspoons anyway.’
The pub is closed while works take place and will reopen on Thursday, March 20. A launch party complete with illusionists, entertainers and light poi artistes is planned for Friday, 28 March, starting at 4pm.
The Slug and Lettuce will open from 9am until 11.30pm Monday to Wednesday, 9am until 1am Thursday to Saturday and 10am until 11pm on Sunday.
Manager Maggie Hewlett said: ‘We are really excited to be bringing a Slug and Lettuce to Fareham.
‘It’s a brand that has a little bit of love to share with all age groups; from the fantastic family offers; the 2-4-1 cocktails for a great night out and the great food offer. We look forward to welcoming you all.’
Stonegate has 70 Slug and Lettuce pubs across the country, including one in Palmerston Road, Southsea and one at Gunwharf Quays.