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Another celebrity chef to move to Winchester
Winchester has lured another celebrity TV chef and ‘real food’ campaigner to the city.
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has signed a lease to take over the historic council-owned Abbey Mill off Colebrook Street.
River Cottage Canteen & Deli is now set to open in about a year’s time.
The city council has confirmed it has agreed lease terms on Abbey Mill in Winchester's Abbey Gardens with River Cottage Canteen & Deli.
Like the two other River Cottage restaurants it will also offer food-oriented courses.
Mr Fearnley-Whittingstall has written numerous best-selling books championing locally-produced food, presented several TV shows on Channel Four as well as campaigning on issues such as fishing and factory farming.
The city council owns the listed building and has been looking for a new tenant since moving its own engineering department since vacated it as office space a few years ago.
Rob Love, managing director of River Cottage, in a statement prompted by Hampshire Chronicle enquiries, said: “River Cottage is pleased to have agreed terms with Winchester City Council on the Abbey Mill building, subject to planning and licensing approvals.
“Our first priority is to create a dialogue with residents and the local community to share our ambitions and intentions, and we look forward to meeting with them soon."
Letters have been sent to local people living in the Colebrook Street area.
The news will add another famous name to restaurants in the city. Raymond Blanc and Jamie Oliver both have restaurants in the city; the Black Rat has a Michelin star and the city was the first location for Hotel du Vin in 1994. The hotel's first head chef was James Martin who later opened a deli in The Square, Winchester, which closed earlier this year
River Cottage says its new venture would add vibrancy to the city, and offer employment and training opportunities, and opportunities for local food producers.
Keith Wood, city council leader, said yesterday: “We are delighted to have attracted such a high-profile organisation as River Cottage to Winchester. They recognise that this is an area with high quality local produce, an established and developing local economy, and the prospect of an exciting redevelopment. I believe that residents, visitors and local producers will benefit from this exciting new business which will be a great addition to the attractions available in the city.”
It is hoped that a planning application will be submitted before Christmas, and if successful building work will begin early in 2013 for completion next autumn.