Portsmouth landlord warns pubs will vanish unless communities play their part

Use your local pub or lose it.

Thursday, 8th December 2016, 6:08 am
Updated Wednesday, 14th December 2016, 1:55 pm
The Cabmans Rest in Somers Town, pictured in 2012

That’s the warning from the landlord of a pub in Portsmouth as the future remains uncertain for venues across the city.

The former Cabman’s Rest, in Plymouth Street, Somers Town, remains empty after a plan to convert it into a home for 11 students was kicked out by the council’s planning team yesterday.

A petition was presented by residents against the pub conversion plans – initially for 15 students before applicant Pike Planning reduced the number to 11.

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The boarded-up White Swan, in High Street, Cosham

Sally Thomas, of St David’s Road, said: ‘Parking is an issue, and students do have cars.’

The Swan, in High Street, Cosham, was recently boarded up, and The Tap, in London Road, North End has also closed its doors.

Over the years pubs in the region have vanished as firms snap up them for prime shop and home developments.

And Paul Saynor, co-landlord of The Rose in June, in Milton Road, Copnor, said residents need to play their part in ensuring their local survives.

The boarded-up White Swan, in High Street, Cosham

Mr Saynor said: ‘Use them or lose them, this is not a threat but an absolute certainty.

‘The community pub has long been recognised as a place that people of all ages and gender with different religious and political beliefs can meet up in perfect harmony.

‘There are few other places that this happens, as most have a religious or political tie.

‘The growing trend to go out to eat is good for those in your own company but does nothing to create the feeling of belonging to a wider circle nor does the idea of just having a drink at home sitting in front of the television.

‘So what makes a community pub? The clue is in the title, a place where people meet to share their thoughts and ideas, a place where everyone feels comfortable and welcome, a home from home.

‘Can more be done? A good publican will always be considering their customers and creating a homely atmosphere inside their pub and a few will go the extra mile by keeping an eye on the more elderly, especially when they are not seen and at this time of year providing a Christmas meal for their locals.

‘Most pubs run a weekly quiz, have dart and/or pool teams, hold raffles and most importantly raise a large amount of money for various charities. Many other services are provided by the community pub, such as a place for parcels to be left for the neighbours when they are out at work, advertising local events and even the odd taxi service free of charge when customers need lifts to hospital.’