Campaign launched to stop former Connaught Arms pub in Portsmouth being turned into shop

The Connaught Arms in Fratton
The Connaught Arms in Fratton
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The death knell has sounded for another Portsmouth pub.

Plans have been unveiled to turn the former Connaught Arms, in Guildford Road, Fratton, into a shop, the latest in a line of pubs earmarked for other use.

It’s a shame the Connaught is shut. I used to go around there when I was only working here part-time.

Ellie Raven, landlady of the Newcome Arms, in Newcome Road, Fratton

The boozer has been closed for most of the year and has been a blight on the local area as no-one has come forward to take it over and spruce it up.

And now developers hope to turn it into another shop in the community, much to the dismay of local residents.

More than 500 members of the community have signed a petition.

Fratton Lib Dem councillor Dave Ashmore last night held a public meeting at Fratton Community Centre to listen to people’s concerns.

Cllr Ashmore said The Connaught was once a popular local.

He said: ‘Once upon a time, it was a busy pub and a very popular local.

‘But it’s had a succession of owners and they haven’t been able to keep it going.

‘What shop this could end up being, we don’t know.

‘People have objected to it because they don’t want another shop there and it may be able to sell alcohol late at night.

‘Other shops like Penhale News and Handy Stores close at 8pm.’

Cllr Ashmore fears it will just be another excuse for punters drinking in Fratton Road to then top on booze in nearby newsagents once pubs kick out for the evening.

Ellie Raven, landlady of the Newcome Arms, in Newcome Road, fears the proposed store will jeopardise the future of Penhale News and Handy Stores.

And she’s sad the Connaught won’t look to continue on as a pub. She said: ‘Both of those corner shops have been there for years, they are family-run businesses.

‘No-one has been asked about this. It’s a shame the Connaught is shut. I used to go around there when I was only working here part-time.

‘I knew people who used to visit both pubs.

‘It was a lovely pub with lots of character.

In a letter of objection to the council, Neil Carroll, of nearby Penhale Road, said: ‘I fail to see the benefit of a new local shop on the corner of Penhale/Guildford Road, given that there is adequate coverage in this respect with an existing convenience shop on the adjacent corner with suitable opening hours for a residential area.

‘This is supplemented by a 24-hour store on nearby Fratton Road and local superstores, most of which are within walking distance.

‘Therefore there is no requirement for yet another shop.’