CONFUSION surrounds the future of celebrity chef Jamie Oliver’s restaurant in Winchester.

It has been reported that Union Jacks, in the High Street, was set to close only 18 months after it opened.

Mr Oliver’s spokeswoman was reported as saying: “We are exploring various options with regard to Union Jacks.”

But staff at the branch denied its future was in doubt.

George Ashmore, assistant manager, said: “We are not closing. All we know is that I have just got a text from my manager from head office saying it’s rubbish.”

The restaurant was the second Union Jacks and opened in 2012 on the site formerly occupied by Pizza Hut. But with its ‘utilitarian’ decor and quirky toppings such as roast pork and crackling, it has had mixed reviews for its top-of-the-range pizzas, which start at £13.50.

The Daily Echo tried to contact the company head office in London but they were unavailable.

It has been reported that all four Union Jacks are to close. Three are in London.

Lotti Eagles, of the Winchester Business Improvement District, played down the news.

“As far as we understand he is shutting down all four of his Union Jacks restaurants. “We’re not sure whether he intends to put something new in that space.”