Uncertain future as Victorian pub stays boarded up

Former regulars Alan Shoubridge (left), and Ian McClaren outside The White House public house at Eastney which has closed
Former regulars Alan Shoubridge (left), and Ian McClaren outside The White House public house at Eastney which has closed
Picture: Malcolm Wells

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THE future of a former pub that has been sold to developers and boarded up remains uncertain.

Time was called at The White House in Eastney Road, Portsmouth, after it was put on the market due to a decline in trade.

The pub, which dated back to 1860, was sold by owner Enterprise Inns to the Southern Co-operative in September.

The Co-op has yet to announce a decision on how and when it will redevelop the pub and its car park.

In the meantime, part of the car park is temporarily being used by Milton Motor Company to sell cars.

Former landlord Martin Munns, who now runs The Fareham, in Trinity Street, Fareham, had only been at The White House for four months before the death knell was sounded.

During his time at the pub, Martin, 47, forked out £1,000 to redecorate the exterior in Pompey colours in a bid to attract more customers.

But he said: ‘It was too little, too late.

‘I started getting the feeling that things weren’t right and it was in August when I got the call from Enterprise to say they were putting it up for sale.

‘Originally, I was gutted, but when I found out which pub I was going to next, I was happy.

‘It’s sad to see so many pubs close down. What’s killing the industry is the price war with beer.

‘Landlords want to attract customers by selling their beer for £2 a pint, but there’s no way you can make a profit by doing that.

‘Enterprise did the right thing by selling the pub.

‘On match days it was attracting trouble from fans and it put a lot of the regulars off.’

Regulars have spoken of their sadness at seeing the pub close.

Former Marine corporal Alan Shoubridge, 68, who was based at the former Royal Marine barracks in Eastney, said: ‘It was a super pub back in the 60s.

‘All the marines and the wrens from the barracks would come up to the pub and have a few drinks.

‘The pub had some great dart nights, the teams were very good as well.’

Ann Pearcey, 71, from Goldsmith Avenue, Southsea, said: ‘I’ve lived here for 42 years and I’ve never heard any trouble from the pub, so it’s sad to see it go.’

A spokesman for Southern Co-operative said: ‘Due to its location we decided that this would be an opportunity to purchase a site that has the potential for a number of possible uses.

‘Enterprise Inns has found a suitable pub elsewhere for the tenant and The White House therefore closed.

‘We haven’t made any decision as to the future of the site at this point.’

Southern Co-operative also took over the former White Hart pub, in White Hart Lane, Portchester.

It reopened as a Co-op store in September.