Campaign to protect pubs gets backing

Fareham Borough Council leader Sean Woodward, mayor and mayoress Cllr Geoff  and Tina Fazackarley, with other councillors at the topping out Picture: Malcolm Wells (171120-8909)

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CAMPAIGNERS have been thrown a lifeline in their bid to ensure pubs are given better protection.

Portsmouth City Council has agreed it would buy a boozer and act as its landlord if the deal is commercially viable.

The agreement comes after Ukip councillor Steve Hastings put pressure on the authority to consider the option.

He believes it is a win-win situation as the council would be able to draw an income through rent from a landlord – and in return they would not be unfairly treated.

Cllr Hastings said: ‘It’s a big step forward.

‘What it says is, the council is prepared to do something – and that’s something I have been trying to get them to do for some time now.

‘It says that if the business plan is right, the council will look to see whether it could buy a pub.

‘This has also come about by highlighting what Fareham is doing in relation to buying supermarkets and taking an income.’

Fareham Borough Council has allocated £8m from its budget to purchase supermarkets.

The authority is going to buy stores with stable tenants and reap the financial benefits of being the landlord as it looks to generate more cash that just putting the money in a bank.

Cllr Hastings, also Ukip’s planning spokesman, believes The Fort Cumberland Arms, in Eastney Road, Eastney, used as a meeting place for Ukip, could be a good one for the council to buy.

‘That’s the one I have had discussions about and I know the landlords are behind the idea,’ he said. ‘It would be a great investment.’