A MAJOR pub chain could be opening three new venues in North Yorkshire, including new bars in Selby, York and Malton, if expansion plans get the go-ahead.

JD Wetherspoon has announced it is looking at venues in the three areas, and is currently in advanced negotiations on a site in Selby.

Eddie Gershon, a spokesman for JD Wetherspoon, said: “ We are progressing with a site in Selby. We are also keen to open a pub in Malton and to add to our existing pubs in York.

“With Selby we are in negotiations on a specific site, so that is far well advanced and we are looking to complete that deal in the near future.”

Mr Gershon said he was unable to specify any of the sites the company were looking into.

But he said the general customer area for Wetherspoon pubs, which specialises in discounted drinks, was about 3,000 square feet, and developments would be “fairly big and prominent sites”.

At present, the closest Wetherspoons to Selby are located in Goole, York and Pontefract, but rumours about the chain opening a new venue in the town have been rife for years.

Last September, The Press reported the company was in negotiations with owners to purchase and develop a property in the town, when a company spokesman said: “We’ve been looking for a site in Selby for anumber of years but that has not come to fruition for one reason or another.”

If successful, a new development in York would be the third Wetherpoon pub in the city, after the Postern Gate in Piccadilly, and the Punchbowl in Blossom Street.

It is not yet clear whether the proposed bar would be within the city walls, but Mr Gershon said the chain were not considering the former Venture Photography site in Micklegate.

One member of the York area CAMRA group, who did not wish to be named, said the new developments could improve spending in the areas, and would encourage other bars to compete by matching their quality, if not prices.

He said: “I would think they’ll be looking for somewhere around Selby town centre, perhaps the old Kwik Save or Everatts because they would suit them.

“A Wetherspoon pub could be the way forward and might also be more suitable for Selby District Council because they have a good reputation.

“Wherever they have gone they are well marshalled and do a good job.”