Fears over plans to turn historic Portsmouth pub into a children’s nursery

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A PUB that has served the community for almost a century could be turned into a children’s nursery.

The future of The Fort Cumberland Arms, in Eastney Road, Eastney, will be decided by councillors at a Portsmouth City Council planning meeting.

The premises could be used to look after children during daytime hours.

A new perimeter fence and pavement for people to get into the premises are included in the plans, which were submitted to the council earlier this month.

The pub, which was built in the 1920s for the former Long & Co Limited Southsea Brewery in Hambrook Street, Southsea, remains open under the ownership of Punch Taverns.

Dozens of residents have voiced their sadness at the potential loss of the pub on the council’s website.

Richard Sheath, of Hatfield Road, Eastney, said: ‘This is a lovely little community pub where you can take your family for a quiet drink.

‘I have lived in Eastney for more than 20 years and have a young family. These days there are not many places where you can go to have a evening out locally which doesn’t cost much.

‘I often take my family to this old pub which doesn’t require expensive taxis. We have already lost so many family pubs within walking distance in this area, including The White House, The Travellers Joy, The Mayflower, The Gravediggers, and The Devonshire Arms.

‘What will be left will be a handful of hardcore watering holes that are not inviting to families.’

Richard Collins, of St John’s Avenue, Purbrook, added: ‘This application threatens yet another community pub at a time when Portsmouth is losing far too many similar establishments.

‘The loss would be yet another blow to pub-goers and as a hub of the community. The council must be seen to be taking a positive attitude towards the retention of our unique, traditional public houses.’

Lib Dem councillor Will Purvis, who wants to see the council do more to protect local pubs, said: ‘There have been concerns. The more objections we get the better chance we have of saving this pub.’

People have until September 15 to submit their views. A date for the planning meeting has not been set.

To view the plans and comment visit portsmouth.gov.uk/living/3533.html

. A spokeswoman for Punch Taverns declined to comment.

IN SEARCH OF A PINT

The Fort Cumberland Arms is the last remaining pub in Eastney Road.

If it closes residents would have to walk down to Cromwell Road, Eastney, and have a pint in either The Royal Marines Artillery Tavern, The Eastney Tavern or The Cellars at Eastney. The journey takes around five minutes from The Fort Cumberland. Locals could also stop by at The Sirloin of Beef at the top of Highland Road or The Artillery Arms, in Hester Road, or the Eastfield Hotel in Eastfield Road.

The walk is a few minutes from Eastney Road. The White House pub on the same road was taken over by The Southern Co-operative in September. It has yet to be redeveloped. The Gravediggers, in Highland Road, Southsea, closed in March and is being turned into a family home.