Days could be numbered for an iconic Havant pub

CHANGES ON THE WAY The White Hart pub
CHANGES ON THE WAY The White Hart pub
Picture: Google Maps

New pub to replace restaurant site in Fareham

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PLANS to turn a historic pub into a bingo hall have been met with opposition.

For 124 years The White Hart pub has stood as a landmark in the centre of Havant and served Hampshire’s finest ales.

But developers have submitted plans to convert the pub into an amusement centre offering bingo and slot machines.

As reported, the pub was bought last year by Heritage Property Southern Limited for £155,000.

Barratt Homes presented proposals to demolish the pub and redevelop East Street with a 73-home development.

However, this plan has never materialised.

The latest plan was opposed by Havant Civic Society.

Tim Dawes, a member of the society, said: ‘We need to have a planning process that maintains the use of buildings for the purpose of the community and that helps to develop and enhance the town. This will do just the opposite.’

Several representations have been received by Havant Borough Council.

Ray Cobbett, from Emsworth, stated: ‘The conversion of this old and venerable pub into an amusement arcade and bingo hall sends entirely the wrong message about the future of the town’s historic centre.’

He added the building is better served as a pub, restaurant or bed and breakfast.

Another submission stated it was inappropriate to have gambling across the road from a war memorial.

But Councillor David Guest, of St Faith’s ward, said: ‘As far as I am concerned, if it can be managed properly, why not? I don’t have any basic objections to it.’

A planning report by the developer states: ‘No external alterations are proposed and any external signage will be sympathetic to the character of the building.’

It adds: ‘An amusement centre would enhance the viability and vitality of the area as such premises elsewhere have been found to generate higher than average levels of footfall and visitation, with up to 70 per cent of customers often going on to use other shops and services in the locality.’

No alcohol would be served.

An application is being considered by English Heritage to make the pub a listed building.