Demolition of historic Southsea landmark nears an end

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This is all that remains of the 80-year-old Savoy buildings in Southsea.

The landmark – owned by ex-Pompey boss Harry Redknapp – has been a popular nightspot over the years.

Reverberating to the sounds of The Beatles, ballroom dancing and the latest dance music, generations of youngsters have been kept entertained at the venue.

But it has now been torn down after falling into serious disrepair since it was abandoned as the Time & Envy nightclub in 2006.

Demolition work is three weeks ahead of schedule and could be completed by tomorrow.

In its place, 92 flats are planned.

The demolition is being carried out by Portsmouth Demolition Services, based in Victory Business Centre, Fratton.

Contracts manager Arthur Meakin said: 'It was not easy. Instead of having two 22-ton excavators on site we had three to get the building down, so that sped it up.

'It was a fair-sized building and there was a fair amount of material to clear away.

'We're down to single-storey height now.

'Everyone is pleased with how it has gone. We've had no complaints from residents or the general public.

'There were one or two who wanted the building to stay, but it was in a bad way. It was encouraging squatters and it is better for residents that it has gone.'

But not all residents agree with the demolition.

Roy Scott, who lives nearby, says the council should have done more to save the iconic building.

He added; 'I am old enough to have enjoyed the Savoy and it's a great shame that it has been demolished.

'I used to go there to see the big bands and used to get great entertainment there.

'I thought that they could have left the exterior and changed the inside of the building.

'It could have been replaced with another leisure place. People are always saying that Southsea has nothing to offer and the council are taking everything away and replacing them with flats.'

PROTECTED FROM DEVELOPMENT

The site of the Savoy Buildings was protected from development until the early 20th century, because it stood in front of a row of coastguard cottages which needed a clear line of sight to the sea.

The Savoy Buildings were built in 1929 as a ballroom and in the 1970s it became the nightclub Nero's, then Fifth Avenue, and latterly Time & Envy.

The development will see 92 flats. Savoy Court, the adjoining building on its eastern flank, is to be kept intact and converted to flats.

Around eight workers were involved in the demolition.

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