A WELL-known Winchester newsagents looks set to close.

Hyde Newsagency, on Hyde Street, was taken over by the current owners in 2018 and is one of the last independent convenience shops in the city.

It is thought that the building will be turned from retail use to residential, as that increases the value of the property.

This comes shortly after Hyde Street was reopened following a year-long closure to help social distancing.

The public have been reacting to the news on social media, with many disappointed about the news, but not surprised.

The son of the former owner, Norman Roberts, said: “What a shame, for 20 years my dad with his partner made it work and a thriving business. Only a couple of years ago did they both retire after putting heart, soul and many long days into it.

“Sure there are many factors contributing to its closure. Whatever the reason a real shame and another local business in a long line to close in Winchester.”

Another resident said: “Such a shame they can’t hang in there for a little longer now the road has reopened. I am sure the locals who pushed to get the road shut will miss their local shop now it has gone.”

Former city councillor, Judith Martin, said: “There’s generally more than one reason for most things. I’d say this was built as a house in the first place, not like many of the obvious lost corner shops, you can tell them by the cut-off corner entrance, designed into a 19th century development.”

Cllr Dominic Hiscock, from Hampshire County Council, who lives on nearby Worthy Road, said: “It is to do with the Conservative Government allowing business premises to be converted to residential without having to have planning permission under permitted development rights.

“The planning requirement has now gone and now change of use has to be obtained rather than planning permission except in certain circumstances such as properties in conservation areas and listed buildings.

“As Hyde News is in a conservation area there might be a requirement to obtain planning permission but conversion of this property to residential would be simple and non-intrusive so is unlikely to be difficult.

“There is another example of this happening at the former Prince of Wales Pub on the corner of Hyde Street and Hyde Close which is now flats.

“The value of such properties is enhanced when the use changes from retail to residential.

“The loss of this shop would be blow to the community and feelings are running high as you can imagine!”

The current owner of Hyde Newsagency was approached for a comment but was unavailable.