Campaigners score victory as pub redevelopment plans are turned down again

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ATTEMPTS to turn a former Portsmouth community pub into a shop have been thrown out – yet again.

Campaigners welcomed the city council’s planning committee’s decision to reject the construction of an extension to the former Connaught Arms in Guildford Road, Fratton, to allow a retailer to move in.

I am concerned about the way this could change the character of the area. But I also have an issue with due process.

Fratton councillor Dave Ashmore

Councillors said the work would pile on more traffic misery in the area, and the application was not dissimilar to a previous plan for the site, which included a larger extension and rolling shutters to make way for a store.

It comes after the launch of a community campaign, led by Fratton Lib Dem councillor Dave Ashmore, to stop yet another shop being built in what has been called a quiet area. And there has been concern family-run shops nearby would be threatened with closure.

Planning committee member Cllr David Fuller said: ‘I’m concerned about the potential for increased noise in this quiet area. If this was something in Fratton Road then it would be different.’

Cllr Ashmore said: ‘I’m concerned about the way this could change the character of the area.

‘But I also have an issue with due process. With the previous application the only reason I knew about it was because people had come to me asking why the back wall of the site was being demolished. So I had to send emails and make calls to find out what was going on.

‘When you have a building, you can do a certain amount of work without planning permission.

‘But the owners have removed a huge part of the back wall, and left it open which conflicts with the policy we have.

‘You can’t do that level of work without permission.’

But the council’s assistant director of culture and city development, Claire Upton-Brown, said the building can still be turned into a shop if no changes are made to it given pub’s can be converted for retail use without the need for permission.

The Campaign for Real Ale has lobbied the government against the planning policy.