PUB chain J D Wetherspoon plc is planning a £1.2 million scheme to convert the former Leominster Post Office at Corn Square into an all-day drinking and eating venue.

The new pub, which it is hoped could open in about 12 months following extensive refurbishment, is expected to provide between 35 and 40 new jobs.

Wetherspoons - famed for converting spacious town centre buildings such as banks, cinemas, supermarkets and even churches into pubs - had a lucky break over Leominster's 100-year-old post office.

The firm lost out to another bidder when Royal Mail put the property on the market earlier this year but it is now back in negotiations after the rival buyer pulled out.

"We have agreed to buy the property and are currently in negotiations," said Wetherspoons spokesman Eddie Gershon. "We think the old Post Office in Leominster will make a great pub."

He said the pub plan was subject to approval by the planning and licensing authorities. The outlet would serve food all day, starting at 9am. Wetherspoons has been described as the "pile it high and sell it cheap" pub chain.

It has built its reputation on what it describes as value for money food - a standard menu throughout the country - and low-priced cask ales.

Despite a no-music-or-TV policy, the outlets have become popular with younger drinkers.

The boarded-up Leominster building fell vacant last spring following the controversial closure of the town's former Crown Post Office and relocation of post office services to a newsagents shop.

Placard waving protesters staged a demonstration and MP Bill Wiggin presented a 4,000-strong petition to Royal Mail bosses, who claimed the Crown office was losing money.

The extensive property includes Leominster's former postal sorting office.

Bristol-based agent Atisreal, which is selling the site for Royal Mail, confirmed that a successful bidder withdrew from negotiations and a new deal was in process with the under bidder.

Spokesman John Howells said it was expected the sale would be concluded next month.