New hope for Portsmouth pub which has been empty for months

FOR SALE The Florist in Fratton Road, Portsmouth. ''Picture: Sarah Standing (122832-9083)
FOR SALE The Florist in Fratton Road, Portsmouth. ''Picture: Sarah Standing (122832-9083)
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AN historic pub which has been empty for three months has been given new hope.

Time was called at The Florist, in Fratton Road, Fratton, after it was put on the market due to a slump in trade.

But owner Wadworth says it is now listening to a number of offers for the pub, which dates back to 1924.

The pub firm doesn’t plan to sell the building for any other use.

It was built for the former Portsea-based Brickwoods Brewery and replaced an existing pub. Fratton ward councillor David Fuller, who is on the planning committee at Portsmouth City Council, said it would be a shame to see the end of the pub.

‘It’s one of the most impressive buildings on Fratton Road,’ he said. ‘It needs to be conserved.

‘I don’t want to see the place fall into disrepair and standing empty for much longer.

‘As you go down Lake Road it is the first building you see.

‘It would be a shame to see the end of another traditional pub in Portsmouth.

‘I used the pub many years ago and it was a fairly decent place to have a drink.

The pub used to feature in the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) Good Beer Guide before it was shut on May 7.

The original tiled exterior was taken down in the 1990s but it was replaced with a similar design by Wadworth, which bought the pub from Whitbread.

As previously reported in The News, local pubs such as The Florist could be saved if they are put on a register which is being introduced by the government under The Localism Act in October.

If an asset on the list comes up for sale community groups will be given six months to come forward with a bid.

And during that time private developers won’t have the power to step in with a rival offer. The issue will be debated by the full council later in the year.

There is no evidence to suggest the pub is protected because it has never been formally listed.

Nigel Tresidder, landlord of the nearby Newcome Arms pub, in Newcome Road, Kingston, said: ‘Hopefully something will be sorted soon.

‘I’ve had many happy times there before.’

A spokesman for Wadworth confirmed that the pub was for sale.

‘At the moment we are still in negotiations with a number of people who have placed offers,’ he said.

‘Our view is that we want to sell The Florist on as a pub. However we are unable to do anything if a buyer decides to turn it into something else.

‘We don’t have any documentation which suggests the pub is listed.’

‘Witch’s hat’ towers are trademark of city brewery

THE Florist is one of only three pubs left in Portsmouth that has a distinctive ‘witch’s hat’ tower.

The feature was included in the design of pubs built especially for The Brickwoods Brewery, in Queen Street, Portsea.

Brickwoods was sold off to Whitbread in 1971. The Fawcett Inn, in Fawcett Road, Southsea, and The Nell Gwynne, in Jessie Road, Southsea, still have a witch’s hat tower.

Demolished pubs The Mystery, in Warwick Crescent, Southsea, and The Royal Naval Arms, in Queen Street, also had one.