Barnstaple’s Pizza Express restaurant is set to permanently close.

The restaurant in the High Street is one of 73 to shut as the chain bids to stay afloat following the coronavirus lockdown.

The Barnstaple eatery, which is based in one of Barnstaple’s oldest buildings, has not reopened its doors since lockdown restrictions eased.

The company, which currently has around 454 restaurants in the UK, said on Tuesday it had finalised a proposal to reduce its restaurant and rental costs via a company voluntary arrangement (CVA).

It said that although the majority of its restaurants were profitable before lockdown was imposed, earnings had been declining across the Pizza Express estate for the last three years.

It added that the reduction in revenue caused by the enforced closure of all restaurants, the cost of reopening and the UK’s uncertain economic future meant its rental costs were no longer sustainable.

Zoe Bowley, Pizza Express’s managing director for the UK and Ireland, said: “Unfortunately, the impact of the global pandemic has meant that we have had to make some incredibly tough decisions to safeguard Pizza Express for the long term.

“Today we have confirmed that 73 of our pizzerias are proposed to close permanently.”

Ms Bowley said that in most cases, the stores selected for closure are near to another Pizza Express that has already reopened or will be reopening soon.

In the case of North Devon, the next nearest restaurants are in Exeter and Taunton.