PLANS for a brand new pub which could be built in Chesham have been welcomed.

The Merritts car showroom and garage in Ashley Green Road, which ceased trading two years ago, would be bulldozed to make way for a pub, restaurant and outdoor play area if planning permission is given.

It would provide 20 new full time and 30 part time jobs and could see a reversal in the trend of pubs in the town closing.

Mick Carling, co founder of the Better Chesham group, said he hopes the planned pub is the first of many new business ventures to be given the go-ahead.

He said another pub company and a restaurant chain have both also expressed an interest in moving to Chesham.

Mr Carling said: "If those come off it will start the ball rolling. It starts a new era for the high street."

Referring to the plans for the new pub he said: "It's in a great location right on the edge of town and it will serve it pretty well. It's fantastic news.

"Waterside has got one or two pubs but none of them seem to be doing that well. They are more traditional pubs, so if someone comes along with a modern pub/restaurant, that will be good."

Mayor of Chesham Mark Shaw said: "We've lost several pubs over the last couple of years so it's exciting a new chain wants to come in and build a new premises.

"What we hope is, if it does go ahead, it acts as a pathfinder to encourage other chains to come.

"I hope that not only does it provide a service to local people, it brings people from outside to see what a great place to be Chesham is."

In recent years the Elephant and Castle in Waterside and the Cock Tavern in the town centre have both been turned into flats, while plans to convert the Rose and Crown - which served its last pint in May 2012 - have been rejected.

Further plans to convert the Nash Arms in Vale Road, which is still open, into a shop and flats were also turned down earlier this year by Chiltern District Council.

Marston's Inns and Taverns, the group to have submitted the new plans to the council, say it is an "ideal country setting for a quality family restaurant and pub" and will serve the Chesham and Berkhamsted catchment area - which they say is "underprovided with facilities".

A decision on whether to grant planning permission could be made by Chiltern District Council by the end of next month.