Whitstable Bingo Club to close.

WHITSTABLE'S iconic Oxford bingo hall is set to become a Wetherspoon's pub.

The controversial deal was confirmed this week by a JD Wetherspoon spokesman.

And building owner Stewart Neame admitted the pub chain giants had expressed interest in buying the Art Deco-style property.

But Mr Neame said: "It's true Wetherspoon's have been interested, but along with lots of other people.

"It's a big property in the middle of Whitstable so it's bound to attract interest and I have often been approached to sell."

Mr Neame, who also operates the Connaught in Herne Bay, admitted numbers playing bingo at the Oxford were in decline.

He said: "The bingo industry has had a turbulent time over the last few years with Government taxation policies. In these small social bingo clubs like ours we don't do as much trade as the Government thinks."

A spokesman for the pub giant said they were hoping to exchange contracts tomorrow.

He added: "If you say we've bought it you're not wrong."

The Oxford picture house opened in December 1912, and was rebuilt in Art Deco style in 1936.

Bingo sessions began in 1962 and the last film was shown on October 4, 1984, viewed by a grand audience of just four filmgoers.

Members who wish to continue to play their favourite game are asked to contact The Crown Bingo in Margate on 01843 297308 for immediate membership.