Reports are gathering pace that the Wetherspoons pub chain is poised to take over the largely-empty Old Town Hall. Here’s the evidence; Taunton Deane planners are known to have had informal discussions about the project with Wetherspoons, retailers within the Victorian building are negotiating compensation for the possible surrender of their leases, and the company itself confirms that Wellington is firmly in its sights.
What the 900-pub chain won’t do now is firmly commit itself toopening one of its pubs within the Old Town Hall. “We can confirm that Wellington is a town that JD Wetherspoon are looking at, the company is interested in a number of sites there,” said spokesman Eddy Gershon. However, 18 months ago Wetherspoons made a firm announcement that it intended to open in Wellington.
The building itself is owned by a Burnham-on-Sea property company called Rayglow Securities. They also own some of the burned-out buildings in the adjoining Cornhill, a site they have applied for planning permission to build houses on.
Interestingly, Wetherspoons has an excellent track record in restoring heritage buildings to a commercial use – although customers who have only visited its two Taunton pubs, the Perkin Warbeck and the Coal Orchard, might be forgiven for not knowing that.
One of its most recent restorations is the 19th century Corn Exchange in the Suffolk town of Bury St Edmunds, opened last summer after a £2m refurbishment. It’s hugely popular in the town and it would be excellent if something similar could be achieved in Wellington
If you know anything more about the plans or timescale for a pub in the Old Town Hall, do share it with Around Wellington via firstname.lastname@example.org