A PROPERTY owner who was looking to sell their Winchester pub has decided to keep it instead.

The owner of O'Neill's in the High Street has taken the unit off of the market, according to Gregor Wallace of estate agents Crossland Otter Hunt.

They feel it is "too good of an asset", and Mr Wallace said the pub does "very well", despite not being in the main pedestrianised area of the city.

He told the Chronicle: "We had strong bids just below the asking price, surprisingly, from two well known Sussex and Hampshire families, but they were not quite at my client’s price so we rejected them back in January and February.

"So we did have buyers but my client felt it's too good an asset and wasn't willing to move lower in price.

"As you know usually pubs and restaurants are off pitch in that they don’t need to be in the most expensive part of the prime retail of any town.

"That is also the case with O’Neill's in Winchester which is not in the pedestrianised part of the street and as such has much more sensible levels of rent."

The property still appears 'up for sale' on Right Move.

Mr Wallace added: "I also understand that O'Neill's does very well out of this unit and will no doubt continue to do so going forward.

"As we all know now, leisure uses require people to be in the building whereas clothes shops and electronics can be bought on line so this rebasing of the 'high street' will continue until a natural equilibrium is reached.

"Whilst Covid has now hurt the hospitality sector hard, the rents on these premises are generally coming from a much more sensible base.

"Also pubs and restaurants take longer leases as a rule as they have higher fit out costs and operation which is more dedicated to good will of that location.

Wealthy cathedral towns will continue to attract day visitors and act as destinations and I believe places like Winchester, Guildford, Cambridge and Salisbury will remain strong."