REGULARS at a popular Cowley pub are launching a petition to try to stop its closure.

A Facebook page was created this week as customers vowed to do their best to prevent last orders at The William Morris in Templars Square Shopping Centre.

A post on the page said: “It’s come to our attention that The William Morris pub will be closed as of March 31, 2018. Let’s get a petition together and stop this happening.”

A £60m regeneration of the shopping centre, approved by city councillors in July, was initially blamed for the decision to close the pub – run by JD Wetherspoon.

But developer NewRiver, which plans to build more than 200 new homes, shops, a 71-bed hotel and two new restaurants at Templars Square, as well as demolish the 470-space Castle Car Park, has denied it is responsible for the closure.

Charles Spooner, director at NewRiver, commented:“We will be very sad to see the William Morris pub close in March 2018.

“This is a decision that has been taken by the operator of the pub and we are sorry that it will be leaving, and we will now be seeking to secure a new operator to create a community pub for Cowley.

“We are looking forward to bringing new restaurants to Templars Square as part of our exciting new redevelopment plans.

“We are in discussions with a number of potential occupiers, and we hope to be able to share more news shortly.”

Wetherspoon spokesman Eddie Gershon confirmed the pub chain would be handing back the unit to the landlord at the end of March but did not reveal the reason behind the decision.

He added: “At present the final day of trading at the pub is set for March 25 but that needs to be confirmed nearer the time.”