THE PURPLE Turtle will begin a seven month project in January to build a 400 person venue, restaurant and garden next to its current facilities.

The Gun Street bar has had a planning application approved to dig across from their current basement room and construct a bar-come-performance space below number 11.

This will feature a stage equipped to host everything from heavy metal bands and theatre productions to guest speakers and a cinema club.

Above the bar will sit a restaurant owned by the Turtle but run by a contracted catering company with a colourfully decorated garden for alfresco dining.

Danny Fraifeld, co-owner of the Purple Turtle, said: “ It is going to be a really good locals' place.

“A lot of perspiration and sweat will be put into it to make it a proper independent venue.

“We know the town and we know there is a need for independent businesses, restaurants, bars and clubs.”

As well as several ornamental Daleks, the garden will include a micro brewery that will add freshly brewed ales and beers to the locally sourced menu.

Subject to the approval of a licensing application the new venue would be open to the public in July or August next year.

Mr Fraifeld, who has run the Purple Turtle with Greg Muden since 1990, also expressed his sadness at the potential closure of After Dark – an iconic and independent Reading night club.

“The news about the After Dark is very sad,” he said.

“I have been a supporter and reveller in their since I could first hold a drink.

“I will be very, very sad to see it go.”