BUILDING work at the site of a former pub labelled an ‘eyesore’ is due to finish next week, with new homes standing in its place.
The Wheatsheaf pub closed in 2008 and Gosport Borough Council gave its new owner permission to convert it into homes in January 2009.
As previously reported in The News, Brockhurst ward councillor Rob Hylands had criticised the lack of redevelopment at the site and the state of the pub.
The council had given permission with the condition that work must start within three years.
But the owner of the building, Stuart Knight, a property consultant working in the Far East on projects in Vietnam and Macau, said the work on the seven homes would finish next week.
Mr Knight said that building had been delayed due to bad weather.
He said: ‘We’ve really gone to town on it and not approached it as a developer trying to make a heap of money out of it and argue with the conservation officer.
‘At any one time we probably had around 12 tradesmen on the site, that’s been pretty much for the last year – we’ve been blighted by terrible weather.’
He added that care had been taken to make sure the homes would be in keeping with the old pub and its history.
That included getting advice from Rob Harper, the conservation officer at the council.
And Mr Knight said he worked with his architect to design one property like a coach house.
‘I found a picture of a Hampshire coach house and gave that to the architect and together we drew up the coach house building that is there now,’ he said.
‘Also we found artefacts on the site from the Mumby Portsmouth and Gosport Bottle Company and last week we took them down to the SEARCH Museum.’
Cllr Hylands said he welcomed the development now that progress had been made.
He said: ‘It does look nice – wherever you’re going around Gosport you’re going through that junction and it’s nice to see that it’s been sorted out.
‘It wasn’t a very good advert for Gosport to see an overgrowing, rotting and falling apart pub when you came driving down.’
‘It was just being left to rot and it was unfortunate that the pub has closed.
‘Pubs have been the hub of the community for quite some time but people’s habits are changing.’
Four homes have already been sold by estate agent Fenwicks.