IT now looks certain that a major chain store has bought the former Fordingbridge Club.

Fordingbridge Club, which was marketed by Woolley and Wallis as suitable for a mixed-use development with a £250,000 price tag, has been bought.

But who the buyer is remains unconfirmed.

Mayor Malcolm Connolly said that he was unable to reveal who the new owner is, but said: “All I can really say at this stage is that a well-known upmarket shop chain is interested in the site.

“I am particularly interested in this buyer, because it will be good for Fordingbridge and the surrounding area and the existing shop keepers too.

“The new shop will bring people into the town rather than people leaving the town to shop elsewhere, which is what is happening.

“The buyer was in the building for a couple of days last week, measuring up.”

He added: “As far as I am aware, the new owners will only need to apply for a change of use for the building.

“If a planning application is sought and gained then the scheme would bring considerable employment opportunities and be hugely beneficial to Fordingbridge and the surrounding villages.”

The site at Roundhills is about 0.16 acres and features two 19th century warehouses with extensions providing a floor space of 7,442 sq ft (691.4 sqm). Fordingbridge has a Tesco Express and a Co-op, and a number of smaller independent stores.

Fordingbridge Club closed in 2012, just before a meeting was due to be held over plans to strip the club of its licence.