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Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall River Cottage Canteen looks set to open in Winchester

May 30, 2013 by admin

A deal is on the verge of being struck by celebrity chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Winchester County Council. The plan is for the TV chef to transform Winchester’s historical Grade 2 listed Abbey Mill property into his next River Cottage Canteen and Deli.

Finalising the lease for the building has been progressing and the chef’s company looks set to acquire the mill in due course.

There has however been opposition to the plans by several residents but Ron Geacen, company managing director, explained that dialogue could not be entered into until the deal with Winchester City Council has been finalised.

Mr Greacen did say: "We would like to engage with the local community and discuss our project, the philosophy behind the Canteen business and explain how we will be working with local suppliers."

The former silk mill opened in 1793 and it was previously used as an eatery for servicemen during the Second World War. Of late the local council has been using it for office space, including the North Hampshire Chamber of Commerce.

A city council spokesperson said: "From the city council’s perspective, the project is progressing as expected. As the statement says, we hope to reach agreement shortly and that will allow River Cottage to talk to the local community about their plans."

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