Death knell sounded for Portsmouth pub as plans are put forward to turn it into flats

The Alma Arms in 2013
The Alma Arms in 2013
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Landlords have spoken of their sadness after yet another pub in Portsmouth was sold off for redevelopment.

It’s understood the Alma Arms, in Highland Road, Eastney, has been bought by a developer who is seeking to turn the site into flats.

It’s yet another reason why people won’t come to Eastney for a social evening.

Paul Jevons, landlord of the Sir Loin of Beef

Enterprise Inns put the pub up for sale at the end of last year after it suffered a slump in trade, despite city landlord Steve Lant having made efforts to turn it around. Now it’s feared the permanent closure of the venue will cause even more people to be put off visiting Eastney.

Paul Jevons, landlord of the Sir Loin of Beef, in Highland Road, said: ‘Any pub shutting has a negative effect on the pubs around it.

‘I would like to say it would increase my businesses, but that’s not the case, as was the case when The Mayflower shut. It’s yet another reason why people won’t come to Eastney for a social evening.

‘There used to be a big pub crawl in this area and we don’t have that any more.

‘People now start their pub crawls further down the road (towards Albert Road).

‘We used to get seven pub crawls every weekend, now we’re lucky if we get one.’

Paul also questioned why developers don’t think to include a bar in their plans to ensure a business still existed.

Stuart Ainsworth, landlord of The Leopold Tavern, in Albert Road, Southsea, said he was told by Enterprise regional manager Tony Warnants The Alma had been sold.

Stuart said: ‘I hate to see any pub close. I am a great believer in making pubs assets of community value – the problem is someone has got to do the paperwork.

‘But you have got to be realistic in the business world. If a pub keeps struggling and struggling, then there’s only so much you can do.

‘Pubs are given chances and it comes to a stage unfortunately where some are no longer financially viable.

‘People come out mainly at the weekend now and only have a certain amount of money to spend.’

As reported, the local branch of the Campaign for Real Ale is seeking to put two venues on an ‘assets of community value’ list to stop them from being turned into shops.

Being on the register gives pubs protection against developers and stops them from automatically being converted for other uses. Currently, the law states locals can be changed into shops, supermarkets or betting shops without planning permission.

MPs have called for the list to be enhanced so pubs can only be redeveloped if planning permission is given.