JD Wetherspoon is set to spend £1.3million turning a St Ives shop into the latest pub in its portfolio.

The company said it has exchanged contracts to buy the freehold of the former Warehouse Clearance Shops store in Market Hill, with completion expected in early October. It still needs planning and licensing permission, and it could not currently confirm when work would start nor opening dates.

If its conversion receives 
planning permission from Huntingdonshire District Council, the pub will create 45 jobs.

Eddie Gershon, spokesman for the company, said: “We are pleased to have exchanged on a property in St Ives.

“We have been keen to open in the town for a long time and this is a big step in the right direction. “We believe that a Wetherspoon pub would be good for the town and also act as a catalyst for further investment into St Ives.”

Councillor Brian Luter, mayor of St Ives, said: “We like the many independent outlets we have here in St Ives. I am reserving my judgement because it is a chain as opposed to a small pub.

“I just hope it won’t have an effect in terms of closing the pubs we have got.”

The pub chain has also bought the former post office, sorting office and George Hall just off the ring road in George Street, Huntingdon. It has submitted plans to Huntingdonshire District Council to link the buildings to make way for a pub capable of serving 631 people.

The plans also include a 22-room hotel, along with a large commercial kitchen and beer garden. It stressed that work would be sympathetic to the grade II-listed buildings.