A FORMER popular Romsey hotel could soon have a new owner, according to a property agent.

The news comes after a Savills for sale sign was put up outside the The Abbey Hotel, Church Street, in the middle of July.

Kevin Marsh, head of licensed leisure at Savills, told the Romsey Advertiser they had "identified a buyer" after receiving "a tremendous amount of interest from around 50 parties" since it went on the market.

Mr Marsh said: "We are quite a long way down the road with the buyer and I am hoping we will exchange contracts within the next two weeks.

"We are hoping this will be completed by the end of the year and because we had lots of people who were enthusiastic about buying the property we were able to find a buyer fairly quickly.

"Everybody who looked at the property understands the ground floor will remain for commercial use so there could be a pub on the ground floor."

The asking price for The Abbey Hotel is £1.6 million and it is opposite Romsey Abbey.

Dorothy Baverstock, who represents Romsey Cupernham on the borough council, said: "It is quite a crucial space in Romsey because it used to be a bed and breakfast which was not as expensive as The White Horse Hotel.

"It could be turned into a really nice hotel which would help us with our residents who want to have a drink, or people who come to Romsey and will have somewhere to stay.

"The Abbey Hotel used to have a big room where people would have dinners and I would hate to think it would be turned into flats."

She added: "It needs to be developed in keeping with the area, as that is the historical part of town next to King John's House and Romsey Abbey."

As previously reported in the Romsey Advertiser, the hotel had been closed for “five years”, according to town centre manager Mark Edgerley.

The pub was set to reopen in 2015 under the management of Paul and Sarah Bingham who managed The White Horse in the Market Place.

However, despite Mr Bingham previously claiming they had a “refurbishment scheme in excess of £500,000” and that they were intending to “trade it as part of the White Horse Hotel and rebrand it as the Abbey Inn” the hotel never re-opened.