The former Brittain & Hobbs store which could soon become a Wetherspoon
News that a national pub chain has its eye on an empty Sheerness shop has been met with mixed reactions.
The Times Guardian understands Wetherspoon is looking at turning former electrical goods store Brittain & Hobbs in High Street into its newest pub.
There were rumours the company was interested in taking over the former Victoria Working Men’s Club in Broadway, Sheerness, but this is the biggest indication yet they might be moving to Sheppey.
The possibility has been a big talking point with pub and cafe owners in the town – some of them fear their businesses might suffer as a result.
Watford-based Wetherspoon has become known for offering low prices on food and alcohol and has almost 800 branches in the UK.
The Brittain & Hobbs building has been vacant since the company went into liquidation in January 2012 after nearly 40 years of trading.
A mock-up of how a Wetherspoon pub may look at the former Brittain & Hobbs electrical shop
Kevin Calver, co-owner of The Napier pub, in Marine Parade, said: “For the backstreet boozers it’s going to close a lot of doors because obviously we can’t compete with their prices – and price is so important to people these days.”
Tommy Holland, co-owner of The Goat, in the high street and Tantra nightclub nearby, disagreed.
He said: “I’m quite happy for them to come. The high street really is dying, it needs some friendly competition.
“A few years ago people would come down the town and you could do a little pub crawl.
“No one stays in one place all night and I think it will bring more people from Minster and Queenborough into the town.”
Jason Sutton, co-owner of Frappe Coffee Boutique in the high street, said: “I think it will be harmful to smaller cafes and other places.
“If you are going to spend a fiver on your dinner anyway you might rather go into Wetherspoon to get a meal and a pint for the same price.
“So I can see it attracting that sort of person more than people that are just popping in for something to eat but how much, we don’t know yet.”
When asked whether the chain was considering setting up here, a spokesman for Wetherspoon remained tight-lipped.