RESTAURANT chain Prezzo has announced it will be closing its popular restaurant in Christchurch this week.

The brand of Italian-inspired restaurants has announced it will be shutting the restaurant in Bridge Street on Sunday, January 16.

Prezzo has been in place in Christchurch for nearly 20 years and the company is currently discussing transferring staff members to nearby restaurants.

Mayor of Christchurch, Councillor Sue Bungey said: “This is very sad, the restaurant over the years has been very popular.

“Looking at the Christchurch Town Council Neighbourhood plan newsletter which is being circulated around the town most people would want to see small local independent retail shops including butchers, greengrocers, fishmongers and bakers more that reflects the traditions of our ancient town and more traditional shops and more to attract tourists to visit Christchurch - I agree with the sentiments of the residents in this respect.”

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Bournemouth Echo: Prezzo in Bridge StreetPrezzo in Bridge Street

Recently bought by Cain International in December 2020, the company bought Prezzo back from administrators in a pre-pack deal to secure its future.

A spokesperson for Cain International said: “Prezzo will miss the Christchurch community and we hope that the customers who have dined with us over the last 19 years will visit us in our Bournemouth and Lymington restaurants.

“To close restaurants is always a difficult decision but we are talking to all our team members and we hope that many of them will continue to develop their careers at our restaurants nearby.”

Prezzo has confirmed that there are no other planned closures of its restaurants in Dorset or the south west.

After the closure there will be just four Prezzo restaurants left in Dorset plus one close-by in Ringwood as well as Lymington.

The remaining restaurants are:

Prezzo, Westover Road, BH1 2BZ

Prezzo, BH2 Leisure Centre, BH2 5DD

Prezzo, Wimborne, BH21 1LT

Prezzo, Weymouth, DT4 8EQ

Prezzo, Ringwood, BH24 1AN

Prezzo, Lymington, SO41 9AH

Last year the chain announced it would axe 22 restaurants and cut 216 jobs after it was rescued out of administration.

In December 2020, Prezzo was sold to Cain as a going concern by previous private equity owners TPG after it was among casual dining chains battered by the pandemic.

The value of the sale was not disclosed but came six years after TPG bought the chain for more than £300 million.