A HISTORIC pub whose future was looking bleak is set to re-open today.
The White Hart pub in Havant will once again opens its doors to the public at 6pm.
The 123-year-old drinking hole has been empty for the last six months and a question mark hung over its future as a public house.
The pub has been at the centre of a debate over redevelopment proposals for East Street, with one option including the demolition of the tavern.
But one family is determined to keep it a successful pub.
Steve Mason and his partner Anita Page, who run The Fox pub in West Leigh, have taken on the lease.
Mr Mason said: ‘If you look round here, everything else is closing.
‘This is an opportunity to get stuff going.
‘It’s one of the historic buildings in Havant and it definitely should stay.’
Managing the pub will be Anita’s son Graham Page, 27, and his fiancee Emma Sides, 19.
Miss Sides said: ‘It was Anita’s decision and she asked if we would like to manage it for her. Why not?
‘It’s a good opportunity.’
As reported, the Victorian building was bought by Heritage Property Southern Limited, a Southampton-based company, for £155,000.
The Page family hopes to turn the pub into a sports bar with large screens. They hope to eventually offer food.
Miss Sides added: ‘It’s vintage – just look at the bar area.
‘It’s got a really nice character to it.’
As reported, landowners have been presented with one set of speculative plans to demolish several buildings in East Street.
The council will be holding a public consultation on the proposals at the Meridian Centre between Tuesday, August 14 and Friday, August 17.
St Faith’s Councillor Jackie Branson said there would be an option to keep the White Hart building and an option to have it redeveloped.
She said: ‘A lot of people would be happy to see it knocked down, other people would not.
‘That is what the consultation will be about.
‘It’s up to the people whether they want it to stay as a pub.’