Uncertainty continues to surround future of Portsmouth pub site

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Calls have been made for the site of a former community pub to be redeveloped.

Pictures were taken yesterday of The Connaught Arms, in Guildford Road, Fratton, looking run-down and empty inside.

There was a petition headed up locally by Cllr Ashmore to stop the refurbishment of the pub to become a shop and flats, and that was then refused. But no-one has had a plan B for this site and it’s been left.

Eleanor Scott

It’s unknown what the future holds for the site of the once thriving community local, as planning permission was turned down last year to turn it into a shop with flats.

It followed a community campaign, led by Fratton Lib Dem councillor Dave Ashmore, to stop yet another shop being built in the quiet area.

Former Fratton councillor Eleanor Scott was shocked as she came across the pub site.

Ms Scott, who took photos of the pub looking derelict before posting them on her Twitter page, said: ‘This poor old pub; it’s very, very sad.

‘There was a petition headed up locally by Cllr Ashmore to stop the refurbishment of the pub to become a shop and flats, and that was then refused.

‘But no-one has had a plan B for this site and it’s been left.

‘It has been left to become a completely open site.

‘All the windows have been pushed in and the door has gone.

‘It’s a very vulnerable site, so I don’t understand what is happening.

‘The reality is, it looks abandoned.

‘It’s open from the pavement, the main door, on Guildford Road, is completely open.’

Ms Scott alerted the city council, which then stepped in and alerted the site owner to keep it safe.

Tory environment and community safety boss, Cllr Rob New, said: ‘We sent a surveyor down onto the site, on the grounds it could be a public safety issue and a danger to the public.

‘The surveyor used their powers to secure the ground floor and they have contacted the owners to try and secure the actual property.

‘I don’t know how you would describe it (the condition of the site), but it seemed pretty hazardous to me.

‘We have to look after the community, and the safety of residents come first.’

In April last year, the city council’s planning committee decided to reject a request by Portland House Ltd to build an extension to allow a retailer to move in.

Councillors said the work would pile on more traffic misery in the area, and the application was not dissimilar to a previous plan for the site, which included a larger extension and rolling shutters to make way for a store.

There was also concern family-run shops nearby would be threatened with closure.

A representative for Portland House Ltd was yesterday unreachable for comment.