UNCERTAINTY hangs over a celebrity chef’s plans to open a restaurant in Southampton.

Hoardings advertising Jamie’s Italian have been on one of the last remaining empty units of the Westquay south building for almost a year.

But so far there is no sign of Jamie moving in.

Now reports say his company has made multimillion-pound losses in the last year, and up to 12 restaurants around the country could close.

Last year the chef closed seven restaurants after a £9.9 million loss.

A spokesperson for Jamie’s Italian said the company is “unable to confirm plans for any individual site in our UK estate”.

They added that the company is “exploring plans to restructure its estate in the UK to ensure business is in good shape for the future.

"The review does not affect Jamie’s Italian international franchises managed through Jamie’s Italian International.

"The Jamie Oliver Media Group and the Jamie Oliver Licensing Group, which are both managed and run separately, are also unaffected.”

Staff at All Bar One next door to the empty unit said there was no sign of any activity at the empty premises.

They added: “Of course it would be better for us if there was someone in there, but we have heard that maybe there are too many restaurants here already, and it may not even open as a restaurant.”

Jamie Oliver shot to fame in 1999 with his show The Naked Chef and an informal style of cooking. He is now understood to be worth more than £240 million.

His Winchester restaurant closed in 2014.

However, there are still 35 Jamie’s Italians trading in the UK.

The £85m Westquay south building opened in December 2016 with around 20 restaurants and a 10-screen Cinema de Lux.

When contacted for a comment, Westquay said they were looking into the matter but had no further comment.