Last orders called at the Southsea’s Devonshire Arms as it’s sold off

CLOSED The Devonshire Arms is now boarded up
CLOSED The Devonshire Arms is now boarded up
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IT’S been a popular fixture for Pompey fans for years, but now the Devonshire Arms looks set to be turned into a shop.

The pub in Devonshire Avenue, Southsea, was shut for good last Friday after pub giant Punch Taverns decided to sell it to a private developer.

It is the second pub shut by the firm in the space of a month after it sold The Gravediggers, in Highland Road, Southsea, to a retired couple who want to turn it into a home.

Plans are now being made to convert the Devonshire Arms, which was built in 1906, into a shop with flats for staff.

Pompey logos were added to the windows when the outside of the building was renovated four years ago. But it wasn’t enough to bring in extra custom.

Greg Trenchard, 54, of Devonshire Avenue, ran the pub between 1988 and 1991.

‘It was popular with Pompey fans right up until the day it closed,’ he said.

‘It was in a prime location what with being close to Fratton Park.

‘At the same time the pub was just the right distance away from any trouble.

‘Not once did the police have to close the pub down on match day.

‘Unfortunately as the years went by the pub got much quieter on normal days.’

The pub first belonged to Brickwoods Brewery, in Queen Street, Portsea, before the company was taken over by Whitbread.

Punch Taverns took over the pub 10 years ago.

Kris Box, 21, of Devonshire Avenue, said he had only ever visited pub once.

‘It had absolutely no atmosphere,’ he said.

‘It was a hostile place. Because I’m a student the locals weren’t too keen on me being in there.

‘But it’s a shame that so many pubs are closing across Portsmouth.’

Matthew Allen, 37, of Fawcett Road, Southsea, said: ‘If a pub isn’t making any money then it makes sense to shut it down. It’s business. It’s been years since I’ve been in there.

Kane Leslie, 20, who works behind the bar of the Still & West Country House, in Bath Square, Old Portsmouth, added: ‘The closure is a sign of the times.’

Days before the pub’s closure letters were put on the windows which thanked customers for all their support.

Punch Taverns is looking to sell off 2,000 of its 5,000 pubs across the country because they have been identified as ones which are struggling.

But the firm says it is not planning to sell any more of its pubs in Portsmouth and the surrounding areas in the near future.

A spokeswoman for Punch Taverns said: ‘We can confirm that The Devonshire Arms has been sold.’