Cafe bar could create 20 jobs
A PORTISHEAD supermarket could be turned into a new cafe bar and restaurant.
Plans have been submitted by the Loungers chain to turn the Budgens store in the High Street into a new 130-seater cafe bar, creating 20 new jobs for the town.
A change of use application to use the 9,500sq ft unit as a café bar has now been submitted to North Somerset Council and is due to be discussed by Portishead Town Council this month.
The plans include converting part of the building on the side into a separate shop, which would be sublet. The building would undergo a £500,000 refit and refurbishment with the main restaurant on the ground floor and toilets and ancillary accommodation on the first floor.
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The cafe bar would open seven days a week from 9am to 11pm.
If planning permission is agreed, work could start later this year, ahead of an opening early in 2013.
The supermarket had been up for sale for the past year.
Loungers managing director Alex Reilley said: "Portishead has a vibrant and lively High Street which you can't help but be impressed with.
"We believe that a Loungers cafe bar will be a real addition to the High Street and will increase footfall during the day and evening and will have a positive impact on the area."
The Loungers chain, which was set up by three friends a decade ago, is in the throes of a major expansion after winning the backing of private financiers in a multi-million pound deal. The company owns more than 26 branches and its restaurant in Portishead will be the first in North Somerset.
Portishead councillor David Pasley said: "This is good news for Portishead. Loungers is a reputable company with an excellent reputation.
"However I am sad that the town could lose a grocery store, especially one which is relied on by a number of elderly people because of its location."