Shut-down Southsea pub sold off for housing

SOLD The Gravediggers
SOLD The Gravediggers
Liza Bailey and her daughter Helen Bailey took part in Small Business Saturday last year at their florist shop Seaside Florist on Hayling Island.

Picture: Malcolm Wells

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AN historic Southsea pub has been bought by a retired couple who plan to turn it into a family home.

The Gravediggers, in Highland Road, was shut by its owners Punch Taverns at the end of March.

Kelvin Walker, 51, and his partner Jackie snapped up the pub for an undisclosed fee shortly after it went on the market.

They have since been repairing the infrastructure of the run-down building, which was built in 1865.

The couple are due to seek planning permission which will enable them to convert the pub into a house.

It follows the conversion of The Taswell Arms in Southsea into a house for a single resident in February this year.

Mr Walker, of Drayton, said: ‘I used to drink in the pub many years ago.

‘Unfortunately the place went downhill in recent times. But we saw the potential of it being a family home because the building is lovely, despite it needing urgent repairs.

‘It’s also got a nice garden area and there’s space to park too which is an added bonus. Times have changed. People don’t go to the pub as much any more.’

Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock said: ‘It was always a great place to go for a well-kept beer.’

‘Unfortunately the life of the community-style pub is dying out. It’s really sad to see it go.’

But Maureen Heath, 61, of Brompton Road, Southsea, said: ‘I don’t think it will be missed.

‘The pub had changed hands so many times in the last five years.’

A Punch Taverns spokesman said: ‘We can confirm the pub was sold on March 29.’