IT HAS been at the heart of Wymering’s heritage for 75 years.
But The Wymering Arms, in Medina Road, has finally succumbed to the wrecking ball – despite the best efforts of the community.
Demolition work started on the empty pub, which first opened its doors in 1937, on Wednesday.
The venue closed in March last year and 15 apartments are being built in its place.
Portsmouth City Council’s planning committee twice turned down the plans and a petition was signed by 500 people calling on English Heritage to save the 1930s building.
Public interest had leaned towards the pub being turned into a shop but an appeal was lodged with the Planning Inspectorate, which overturned the council’s decision.
Now Richard Palmer, 49, of nearby Brightstone Road, said the demolition had finally sunk in.
He said: ‘It’s very sad. Everyone’s going by and standing there looking at it, knowing it’s going to be an empty space.
‘It’s a landmark area. It’s poignant, especially then you think about all the people who have sat on the chairs in the pub over the years, and all the memories that people have of it.
‘I had been in there occasionally but my brother and cousins went there.
‘The artist’s impression of how the flats will look is nice but until it’s there we don’t know how it will look.
‘The community is in shock that it’s coming down.
‘Our views haven’t been listened to.’
May Clay, of Freshwater Road, said: ‘It was a shock to see because it all went quiet.
‘You used to see the old sign swinging in the wind – it’s very sad to see.’
Ian Hayter, who campaigned with Mr Palmer in an attempt to stop the development, added: ‘We knew it was going to be a struggle and the question was, could we keep this fantastic, iconic building from the 30s that was one of the main focal points of the community?
‘It’s a community asset which has unfortunately been lost forever.’