Wether­spoon to leave Wok­ing­ham, while shoe shop sud­denly closes

The Wokingham Paper - - NEWS - By PHIL CREIGHTON

WETHER­SPOON has an­nounced that it is the lat­est big name re­tailer to leave Wok­ing­ham, weeks after Marks & Spencer closed the doors on its Peach Street branch.

The pub chain has called time on The Gig House in Erft­stadt Court – how­ever, the in­ten­tion is for the site to re­main as a res­tau­rant or pub and it has been put on the rental mar­ket.

Orig­i­nally launched as a Lloyds No 1 venue – a Wether­spoon pub with mu­sic – the pub of­fers the usual mix­ture of meals, beers and craft brews as well as a weekly pub quiz.

But this will change next year.

Signs have gone up out­side the pub re­veal­ing that it is up to let as a res­tau­rant and bar.

It fol­lows a sim­i­lar move by Wether­spoon in Read­ing, where it pulled out of The Monk’s Re­treat bar in the town cen­tre. It is now run by Stonegate Pub Com­pany and of­fers live mu­sic at week­ends.

A spokesper­son for Wether­spoon said: “Wether­spoon has served a break no­tice with the land­lord. The pub will be handed back to the land­lord in Septem­ber 2018.

“There will be no re­dun­dan­cies – all staff will re­main with Wether­spoon.”

It is not the only big name to leave Wok­ing­ham town cen­tre in the past week.

The shoe shop Cara sud­denly closed its doors on Satur­day after hold­ing a sale.

It still has branches in Hen­ley and Caver­sham and it is not known why the store closed.

Cara had not re­sponded to re­quests for a com­ment as we went to press.

We broke the news re­gard­ing The Gig House on our web­site on Mon­day and hun­dreds of com­ments were re­ceived from read­ers.

While some were pleased to see the pub chain move on, oth­ers were con­cerned.

“Noooo that can’t hap­pen!! We love it there and it’s fam­ily friendly and prices are af­ford­able for all,” wrote Lynn Aldridge.

Melissa Paulden noted: “What a shame. The Gig House is a great meet­ing place for groups of friends in wheel­chairs. To­tally ac­ces­si­ble, spa­cious and with such cour­te­ous ser­vice shown to­wards peo­ple who need ex­tra help.”

And Kiara Ma­her said: “Not a good sign for Woko when busi­nesses are leav­ing! Cara shoe shop last week, M&S, and now Wether­spoons!”

Wok­ing­ham Bor­ough Coun­cil said that busi­nesses in the town cen­tre are be­ing of­fered sup­port dur­ing the re­gen­er­a­tion scheme.

A spokesper­son said: “We are not the land­lord for The Gig House or Cara and so can­not com­ment di­rectly on their de­ci­sions, al­though we be­lieve these are part of a pat­tern of wider changes rather than a lo­cal re­sponse.

“All town cen­tre busi­nesses have been of­fered sup­port if they wish to seek Busi­ness Rate re­lief dur­ing the re­gen­er­a­tion or Mar­ket Place im­prove­ments. In ad­di­tion, we have worked with the Wok­ing­ham Busi­ness As­so­ci­a­tion to help lo­cal busi­nesses bet­ter pro­mote them­selves.”

Pic­ture: Phil Creighton

Al­though Wether­spoon will leave The Gig House, it is ex­pected that the site will be relet to an­other com­pany look­ing to run a pub/res­tau­rant

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