PUB chain JD Wetherspoon is now considering names for its Abingdon bar after securing permission to develop the old post office.

The chain has been trying to open a pub in the town for about 10 years.

It was refused permission for the former Congregational Church in Pulpit House in 2003.

But it has now been allowed to turn the 19th century post office at 25 High Street into a pub after Vale of White Horse District Council approved the bid.

 And the firm has researched local history to come up with potential names that are fitting with the town’s past.

Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin said: “We are pleased to have been granted planning permission and are as keen as ever to open a pub in Abingdon.”

The firm said it had not yet exchanged on the site and still had to apply for a licence, so did not have an opening date.

Last night the Oxford branch of the Campaign for Real Ale welcomed the approval of their bid.

Johanne Green said: “It will give more variety of beers and Wetherspoon is a very good supporter of local breweries.”

She said the move would probably bring more drinkers into the town rather than sapping trade from other bars.

“It will help get more footfall into town and I don’t think anybody stays a whole night in a Wetherspoon – people will move on, I’m sure.”

Steve Hipgrave, landlord at the King Heads & Bell in East St Helen Street, felt it would be good for the town’s pub trade.

He said: “It’s good to shake us up and make us competitive.
“It will also attract more people which is good after the closure of Strattons (nightclub).”

Danielle Coleman, bar manager of The Blue Boar in Bath Street, said it could go one of two ways for the town centre pubs.

“It might bring people into town but it might drive them out of other pubs,” she said.

The possible pub names are:

  • The Narrows Inn
  • The Lonesome Tree
  • The Sun and Unicorn
  • The Edward Morland
  • The Old Number One
  • The Golden Cross
  • The Edmund Rich

The post office moved to the Co-op supermarket in West St Helen Street in January 2009.

Wetherspoon opened the Penny Black in Bicester’s old post office in 1997, the Swan & Castle in the Oxford Castle complex in 2009 and the Company of Weavers in Witney last year.