FAREWELL messages have been spray-painted on the front of a Portsmouth pub, sparking speculation about its future.
The Fort Cumberland Arms, in Eastney Road, Eastney, has been closed up and signs suggesting its landlords have left have appeared.
One message sprayed in white near the entrance reads: ‘Goodbye, all the best, Colin + Jayne’, while a message up in one of the windows says: ‘Thank you all x x x Hope to see you all soon.’
The pub’s owner, Chris Hunt, said the tenants had chosen to ‘voluntarily’ leave, and said there had been reports of the property being ‘damaged’.
Mr Hunt said: ‘The tenants are still in situ and haven’t left yet.
‘Until we have got possession of the building and the keys back then I can’t comment further.
‘There are still tenants there.’
A 63-year-old woman, of Eastfield Road, who asked not to be identified, said: ‘It came as a surprise to me.
‘I noticed it when I went to the shop earlier.
‘I don’t know why it shut and haven’t heard anything.
‘During the day, a lot of people went into the pub.’
A local man, who also asked not to be identified, added: ‘It is a real shame to see it.
‘We are a good community round here.
‘Most people who go into each pub know each other.
‘All we want is somewhere to go and have a pint when we finish work and somewhere to take out families at the weekend and feel safe.’
Customers have led campaigns over the years to protect the pub, which in 2012 was identified as a potential site for a day nursery.
But hopes were dashed after councillors kicked out the plans.