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The Caterer

Regional Spotlight: Winchester

12 August 2004
Regional Spotlight: Winchester

As befits a former capital of England, Winchester has some of the finest medieval architecture in Europe, including its famous cathedral, immortalised in the New Vaudeville Band's song of the same name.

The city also has a thriving hospitality scene and eating-out culture, as anyone who has been for lunch at the Hotel du Vin's bistro will testify.

Mervyn Cully, director of the Southampton office of Colliers Robert Barry, says that the city has a lot to offer hospitality operators across the board, with its strong mix of local, corporate and tourist trade. There is also lots of scope for residential development on the outskirts, which will increase demand further.

The vibrant market ensures that local hoteliers enjoy high occupancy rates, but there are very few privately owned hotels in the city, says Cully. One of those, Harestock Lodge, is currently being marketed by Colliers and attracting "a lot of interest".

Unsurprisingly, getting a foothold in the city comes at a premium, and there is a shortage of quality businesses and high demand from purchasers.

Cully advises looking east of the city at "foodie" pubs located in villages en route to Alresford, such as Tichbourne and Itchen Abbas. These businesses can generate good trade, as the local area is wealthy and they are located in the London commuter belt.

A "decent" leasehold property with a 10- to 20-year lease will fetch £125,000-£200,000, says Cully, while a "reasonable quality" freehold will go for £400,000-£700,000 - "if you can find one".

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