A NATIONAL chain has been given the go ahead to open a restaurant by Winchester planners.

Wagamama, which is based on traditional Japanese ramen bars, was rumoured to be coming to Jewry Street in October but developers said ongoing planning disputes delayed the project.

As previously reported in the Chronicle, Versant Development had applied for permission for a change of use of Century House – a Winchester Family Church on Jewry Street - to turn the site into a restaurant across the lower and ground floors, along with four apartments.

Now the firm have been granted planning permission to develop the site – its newest addition to an increasing empire – the first of which opened in Bloomsbury in 1992.

Wagamama head of property development, Emily Hyder-Smith, said: “We're really excited to be coming to Winchester in the future and to be able to bring our fast and fresh pan-Asian menu to the city. We have a strong fan base in Hampshire and have been looking for premises in Winchester in which to continue our expansion in the South.

“We don't have an opening date yet for the restaurant but will be hoping to confirm more details in the coming months.”

Wagamama have been eying Winchester for years and were interested in the Guildhall Tavern on The Broadway before it became the Pitcher and Piano.