COMMENT: A poignant time to open up the city’s war memorial

The city eyesore that was the Drift in the City nightclub has been demolished having lay empty for almost six years – apart from a brief six-month period.

Friday, 25th January 2019, 4:21 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 7:11 pm

You would think that the removal of the building would bring much joy – but there are a couple of schools of thought on the work that has been carried out.

One on hand some say that the new space creates a new access and view of Portsmouth’s War Memorial in Guildhall Square that the people of the city haven’t been able to enjoy for decades.

But on the other that the demolition was a ‘wasted opportunity’ for the city.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Civic chiefs now hope to make the most of the rejuvenated space by installing new lighting and furniture in the coming months.

The city’s regeneration boss, Cllr Ben Dowling, said: ‘It’s fantastic.’

But deputy Conservative leader Cllr Luke Stubbs claims the building could still have been rented out if cash had been pumped in to revamp it.

‘The city centre as a whole looks run down and improvements to tidy it up are long overdue,’ he said. ‘When the Conservatives set aside the money to do some work for this, the Liberal Democrats denounced the whole thing as a vanity project.’

And former Tory boss Cllr Donna Jones previously said the demolition was ‘short sighted’, stating the site had been worth between £300,000 and £400,000 on the market or worth £75,000 renting it out.

However, when all is said and done, the Drift in the City building had been empty for the best part of six years, which is plenty of time to have done something about it.

And in this year in particular – the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings – what could be better than giving the people of the city the opportunity to reflect on those who laid down their lives so we can all live in peace.