A HERITAGE society has stepped in to defend a Victorian pub from closure.
The Victorian Society – a national charity which aims to preserve 19th and early 20th century buildings – wants to stop the demolition of the Market House Tavern in Portsmouth.
Burlinghill Limited hopes Portsmouth City Council will give it permission to replace the 19th century Grade II-listed pub and bed and breakfast in Mile End Road with a 14-storey, 88-bedroom hotel.
But the society has told the council allowing the demolition would contravene planning laws.
Heloise Brown, the charity’s conservation adviser, said: ‘The pub’s Grade II listing means it has been identified as being of national importance.
‘Demolishing it would be wasteful, unimaginative and unnecessary.
‘This attractive survivor still retains its historic character and elegant proportions and it should remain part of the city.
‘The front elevation is particularly fine and retains a number of its historic windows.
‘The building lends itself to all manner of conversions and it needs a different approach.’
Ninety-eight people living near the pub have signed a petition against the redevelopment.
And the council has received 22 letters objecting to the plan.
But the developer, Burlinghill, says an exception should be made because the hotel would benefit businesses, including Portsmouth International Port.
The firm’s secretary, Steve Arnell, said: ‘The port is hoping to attract more cruise passengers, and they will want to stay in a nice hotel the night before.
‘It will bring people to the city, where they will spend money.’
The plans will be considered by the council’s planning committee on July 27.