A regular at a JD Wetherspoon pub set to go up for sale has said that he fears the building could be turned into luxury flats.

Justin Farrington, who has been drinking at the Rochester Castle in Stoke Newington high street for more than 30 years, claimed that the pub feels like “a proper local” even though it is owned by the chain.

He said: “It’s the only place around here really that anyone can afford to go to because everywhere else you’re paying about six quid a pint.

“Because of that it’s become a real community hub.

“You’ve got all kinds of people in there from students to old guys propping up the bar – they won’t have anywhere to go at all. It’s a real shame.”

It comes after Hackney Gazette revealed that the pub, which is the oldest standing Wetherspoon pub in the country, will be going up for sale.

Wetherspoon has now officially confirmed the move, and said the pub would continue to trade “as normal” until the sale.

Hackney Gazette: Justin Farrington (right) and his friend, Jonney Diaz, at The Rochester CastleJustin Farrington (right) and his friend, Jonney Diaz, at The Rochester Castle (Image: Le Quyen)

Mr Farrington, who lives a “couple of minutes'” walk from the Rochester, claimed that locals now fear that the pub could disappear altogether.

He said: “The worst-case scenario would be more luxury flats. I think that’s what everyone is scared of.”

The regular, who works a one-week-on, one-week-off, shift pattern, added: “I don’t drink on the weeks when I’m working. But every fortnight, I’m in there at least five or six days, sometimes seven.

“I like to just go and chill with a book in the afternoons, it’s just a nice vibe.”

A petition, titled – ‘Save the Rochester Castle Wetherspoons from closure’ – has now been launched by other regulars.

Speaking about the closure, the petition says: “It would be a devastating loss to the community and the many different walks of life that have passed through its doors over the years and continue to do so.

“People of all ages rely on this as an inexpensive meeting place, somewhere to stay warm, less lonely and meet new people.

“This really can't be replicated in any other pub in the area.”

The petition has already garthered more than 200 signatures since it was created on Monday (January 22).

Wetherspoon spokesman Eddie Gershon said: “We understand that staff and customers will be disappointed with the decision however Wetherspoon does, on occasion, sell some of its pubs and this is the case here.”

He added that the chain would not be commenting further at this time.