TRADERS say a new 220-seat restaurant in Wantage Market Place would be a boost for town business.

The Wildwood restaurant chain has applied for planning permission to open in the Shoe Zone shoe shop and the former Blockbuster Video store, which closed in 2012.

Parent company Tasty Plc wants to knock through to create one large restaurant, serving grilled dishes, pizza, pasta and burgers.

It would see a £750,000 investment in the town, employ about 40 staff and the company has said it would “rely heavily on locally-grown produce” in its meals.

Umami deli owner and chairman of Wantage chamber of commerce Michael Dale said: “This would be a vote of confidence in the town.

“Anything that brings trade into the centre of town is good, if it is a high-quality product so much the better.”

He added: “Wantage has been doing well, the number of small businesses is increasing, but we have to look for larger businesses so this is interesting.”

Tasty said the investment would create “an increase in business activity in an area of continuing commercial decline”.

Wildwood already runs 19 restaurants across the south and east.