'Spoons won't be open for Christmas
IT could be months before a pub chain arrives in Bideford, leaving businesses fearing they could miss out from potential extra trade over Christmas.
It was first revealed last year that J D Wetherspoons was planning to buy the site in the town where Bideford Carpet and Furnishing Centre currently is in Bridgeland Street.
Nearly a year later Wetherspoons has now confirmed the sale on the site is due to be completed next month.
The company is then set to spend £1 million on the site which is expected to create up to 45 jobs.
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But the director of the furniture store Jamie Giddy said it could be until the end of March before they are able to move into their new premises.
Mr Giddy, who is the fourth generation of the family to run the business, said: "We are hoping we will be moving to the new site at Howells Yard in New Road at the end of January but we can stay here until March if we need to.
"We made sure we only needed to give a month's notice because we weren't sure how long it would take to prepare the new site.
"We are currently having a closing down sale with some items reduced by 70 per cent which is going well and will speed up the process.
"The new premises will have on site parking and when we have redeveloped it, the new premises will be a lot bigger."
A spokesman from Wetherspoons said typically it takes three months for a new site to be refitted and turned into a Wetherspoons after the sale is completed, but with many other builds in the pipeline the Bideford site could take a while.
Paul Phipps, who owns the Kings Arms on The Quay and is also a member of Bideford Chamber of Commerce, said: "It would have been good for us to have the Wetherspoons in the town for Christmas because we are hoping it might stop the drain of people going into Barnstaple for a night out. It would have hopefully given us all some extra business.
"But it is great for the town that national chains such as Wetherspoons have enough confidence in the town that they are prepared to invest in it. There are different rumours as to when it will open but I am convinced it will."