Historic Havant pub up for sale after bingo bid fails

The White Hart pub in North Street, Havant. Below, a historic picture of the pub
The White Hart pub in North Street, Havant. Below, a historic picture of the pub
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ONE of Havant’s oldest pubs is back on the market after plans to turn it into a bingo hall fell through.

The 126-year-old White Hart pub, in East Street, is up for sale for £400,000.

The White Hart pub in North Street, Havant. Below, a historic picture of the pub

The White Hart pub in North Street, Havant. Below, a historic picture of the pub

The pub served its last pint last August after planning permission was won to turn it into a bingo hall.

But ever since the Victorian building has seen little activity.

The owner, Simon Reeves, from Southampton, told The News: ‘The people who wanted to take it over with (gaming) machines, they are not going ahead now.

‘We are open to offers. It could be a pub. It’s also got permission for bingo and amusement or it could be a coffee shop or bar.’

The building was bought for £155,000 at the height of the recession.

But Mr Reeves said the brewery had originally put the building on the market for £400,000.

He said there were two flats upstairs which he hopes to get planning permission to convert into four flats.

Mr Reeves said he would consider letting the building to a reliable tenant.

Three years ago more than 1,000 people signed a petition to save the building after Barratt Homes presented proposals to demolish the pub and redevelop East Street with a 73-home development.

However, last year the building was saved after local historians got the property listed with English Heritage.

Tim Dawes, from Havant Civic Society, said: ‘There are people in the town who would be interested in purchasing the property.

‘They certainly won’t pay £400,000 for it.’

He added: ‘I would like to see it sold to someone who cares about it.’

A bid to get the building registered as a community asset – which would mean the community had the first right to buy it – never came to fruition.

But Mr Dawes said there was not the cash in the community for such a bid.

Ray Cobbett, from Havant Friends of the Earth, pointed towards the transformation of The Perseverance Pub into a restaurant and other developments in North Street and East Street.

He said: ‘It could mark a turning point for the town centre, but it needs leadership and encouragement from the council. It needs a certain entrepreneurial spirit.’

Pete Walden, chairman of Havant Over-50s Forum, said: ‘They should never pull it down. It’s part of old Havant.’