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21 June 2013, 07:43 | Updated: 30 March 2016, 13:50
The prospect of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s prestigious River Cottage restaurant coming to Winchester has moved a step closer.
Planners have given approval for the Abbey Mill site in Colebrook Street to change its use from an office to a restaurant.
River Cottage will be run by the celebrity TV chef.
Jamie Oliver also has an eaterie in the city.
The refurbishment was approved by Winchester City Council’s Cabinet in July 2012. The Portfolio Holder Decision Notice is the next important step on the road, opening the way for a formal planning application.
Leader of Winchester City Council, Cllr Keith Wood said: “River Cottage is one of the most inspiring names in food and it will be a tremendous coup for Winchester to play host to one of just a handful of restaurants run by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.
“The project means a new lease of life for an important historic building, annual rental income for Winchester, local jobs, business for local suppliers and another great reason to visit the city. River Cottage is not just another restaurant for Winchester – the company ethos brings support for apprenticeships and training locally too.
“While most people will be excited by this prospect, there will be for a small number concerns about noise, nuisance and parking. These issues will be carefully and properly considered through the licensing and planning processes.”
Rob Greacen, Managing Director of River Cottage Canteen & Deli, said: “This is a positive next step towards enabling us to sign the lease. Once signed, our intention is to engage with the local community, employing and working with local people to open at Abbey Mill. Winchester is a fabulous city with a rich heritage and a vibrant artistic and food culture and we very much hope River Cottage can be part of that.”