Spar retailer Eat 17 could be on the verge of doubling its estate if it does not encounter hitches in the planning process.

The retailer, a 50:50 joint venture with AF Blakemore, is at various stages of planning for sites in: Bishop’s Stortford in Hertfordshire; Hammersmith, West London; and Leyton, East London.

The stores will join its existing outlets in Hackney and Walthamstow, both in East London, and Whitstable, Kent - a previous M Local.

Co-founder James Brundle said he hoped Bishop’s Stortford would open at the end of July “but we are still going through planning, so it’s still not 100%”.

Bishop’s Stortford would be larger than the other stores with 5,500sq ft on the ground floor, while the Hammersmith and Leyton stores were about 4,000sq ft, he said.

The group has no plans for further expansion for 2017. Its original plans were to try to focus on small organic growth in London, but with the launch of Whitstable, the group is open to moving into different areas of the South of England.

The news follows the venture with AF Blakemore dipping its toe into the wholesale meat market.