A NEW £2.5million JD Wetherspoon pub could open in Wickford as early as next year.

The pub chain is purchasing part of the old market site behind Wickford High Street.

The new venue will be called “Market Hall”.

Chief Executive Tim Martin made a visit to Wickford to see the new site, accompanied by Rayleigh and Wickford parliamentary candidate Mark Francois.

Mr Martin said: “I believe the Market Hall, will provide the people of Wickford with a lively venue, good value for money and a family atmosphere in which people can enjoy a drink and a bite to eat.

“Wetherspoon’s, as a company, have a strong sense of community and I am pleased at this opportunity to expand this to Wickford as well.”

He explained Wetherspoon’s place a strong emphasis on historical ties for their establishments and the new pub, is so named as there was an old market hall on the site, in the period after the Second World War.

Subject to planning permission, it is hoped that the new pub, will open in a little over a years’ time, in order to provide a fun night out and good value for money for Wickford residents – as well as enhancing the night time economy of the town.

Mr Francois, who helped arrange the visit and supported the new premises and investment in the town, said: ““As I have represented Wickford in the House of Commons for nearly a decade, I was delighted to show Tim Martin the site of his forthcoming new pub in Wickford and to thank him personally for investing £2.5m in the town.

“I am sure this new pub will be a great asset and will make Wickford a more attractive place to go out in, especially in the evenings and thus hopefully boost trade in the area as well

“I have always liked Wetherspoons because they provide very good value for money in both food and drink.”

Mr Francois is standing as the Tory candidate for the Rayleigh and Wickford constituency in the upcoming general election.

Also standing are David Flack for Labour, Paul Thorogood for the Green party and Ron Tindall for the Liberal Democrats.