ONE of Havant’s oldest pubs is back on the market after plans to turn it into a bingo hall fell through.
The 126-year-old White Hart pub, in East Street, is up for sale for £400,000.
The pub served its last pint last August after planning permission was won to turn it into a bingo hall.
But ever since the Victorian building has seen little activity.
The owner, Simon Reeves, from Southampton, told The News: ‘The people who wanted to take it over with (gaming) machines, they are not going ahead now.
‘We are open to offers. It could be a pub. It’s also got permission for bingo and amusement or it could be a coffee shop or bar.’
The building was bought for £155,000 at the height of the recession.
But Mr Reeves said the brewery had originally put the building on the market for £400,000.
He said there were two flats upstairs which he hopes to get planning permission to convert into four flats.
Mr Reeves said he would consider letting the building to a reliable tenant.
Three years ago more than 1,000 people signed a petition to save the building after Barratt Homes presented proposals to demolish the pub and redevelop East Street with a 73-home development.
However, last year the building was saved after local historians got the property listed with English Heritage.
Tim Dawes, from Havant Civic Society, said: ‘There are people in the town who would be interested in purchasing the property.
‘They certainly won’t pay £400,000 for it.’
He added: ‘I would like to see it sold to someone who cares about it.’
A bid to get the building registered as a community asset – which would mean the community had the first right to buy it – never came to fruition.
But Mr Dawes said there was not the cash in the community for such a bid.
Ray Cobbett, from Havant Friends of the Earth, pointed towards the transformation of The Perseverance Pub into a restaurant and other developments in North Street and East Street.
He said: ‘It could mark a turning point for the town centre, but it needs leadership and encouragement from the council. It needs a certain entrepreneurial spirit.’
Pete Walden, chairman of Havant Over-50s Forum, said: ‘They should never pull it down. It’s part of old Havant.’