It’s a sight which has sadly become all too familiar across our area. Once the thriving hubs of their community, pubs are now boarded up and silent.
Difficult trading conditions, the grip of large pub companies and the growing gap between the price of a pint in the local and the cost of cheaper supermarket drinks have all taken their toll.
Sadly, there has also been an apparent tendency for the owners of pubs to take the easy option, closing them down and selling the sites to make a quick buck from developers rather than riding out the storm and making investment so they can have a chance of thriving.
Our Love your Local campaign, as well as celebrating all that is good about the community pubs in our area, calls on councils to adopt policies which discourage such short-term strategies.
Selling off a site should only be the last resort if it is proven that there is no way a pub can continue as a going concern.
Pub owners also have their part to play in this – particularly where the buildings whose future hangs in the balance have a historic importance.
That is why we are particularly pleased to see Wadworth, now the owner of pubs owned by Portsea’s former Brickwoods Brewery, promising that it intends to find a buyer who wants to keep The Florist in Fratton as a pub.
The Florist, with its distinctive brickwork, ‘witch’s hat’ design and proud ‘Brickwoods Brilliant Ales’ slogan, is a highly-visible example of what makes these pubs great.
As it is not a listed building there is no guarantee that any developer who wanted to turn it into homes or a business would have to keep its cherished features.
But we hope that a buyer can be found who recognises its importance to the city and manages to bring back the magic that ensures it keeps going.
Its loss, like that of many pubs in the hearts of their communities, would be keenly felt by people in the area.
We wish the best of luck to its owners in finding a successor who cares enough to prevent it happening – and that if they do, customers turn out to offer their support.