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Wetherspoon’s linked with Theatre Royal and old post office in Chatham, and the old Fads building in Green Street, Gillingham

Pub giant Wetherspoon’s could soon be moving to Chatham and Gillingham amid rumours town centre sites are being considered.

The owners of the former Theatre Royal in Chatham High Street, which is earmarked for leisure use, have confirmed they have been in contact with the chain.

The theatre, which is bigger than the London Palladium, is due to be transformed into a complex with cafes, restaurants, bars and apartments in a bid to revitalise the unloved area.

Theatre Royal, Chatham,
Theatre Royal, Chatham,

Another possibility is the grand former post office building in Railway Street, which closed in 2010 and was turned into a pub when it became too expensive to run.

The chain is also rumoured to be looking at the old Fads building in Green Street, Gillingham. The three-storey building just off the High Street used to be a decorating supplies store.

JD Wetherspoon is known to favour converting large, unconventional premises, including banks and building societies, rather than opt for new-builds.

The chain’s only pub in Medway, The Golden Lion in Rochester High Street, used to be a TSB bank.

The company, known for its low prices, long opening hours and no-music policy, has long expressed an interest in opening in Chatham.

Wetherspoon’s spokesman Eddie Gershon said: “We are keen to open a pub in Chatham, however, we would not comment on individual sites.”

Roger Thomas, co-owner of the Theatre Royal, said: “We have been spoken to Wetherspoon’s but have been told it may not be big enough for them. They normally require a ground floor space of at least 800 square metres.

“So presumably the same would apply to the old post office. We are now actively looking for a business to operate there.”

The old post office, Chatham
The old post office, Chatham

Mr Thomas and his brother Paul, who are Strood-based investors, bought the restored theatre along with a former bank and coffee house next door for £800,000 in 2010. The auditorium was demolished in 2009, leaving the substantial entrances, bars and foyers.

Meanwhile, the Chinese restaurant Cosmo on the other side of the Manor Road junction is expanding into the neighbouring premises, the former hairdressers, Hekkles.

Plans have also been drawn up to extend the Wetherspoon’s in Rochester into what used to be the Thai Four Two restaurant next door.

Thai Four Two has moved to another building on the other side of the High Street.

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