Community pub to be demolished for development

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A THRIVING Portsmouth pub has lost its fight against closure and demolition.

The Travellers Joy in Milton Road, Milton, will be knocked down to make way for a vets’ surgery and eight flats.

The decision was made after Portsmouth City Council’s planning department admitted it couldn’t block the proposal.

But regulars have criticised the decision, which they say is unfair, unnecessary, and will damage their community.

Rick Ford, of Vernon Avenue, Milton, said: ‘It’s a diabolical decision. I come here every weekend and a couple of times during the week. It’s a lovely family pub and it’s always full. It looks like it makes money. Why should it shut?’

The pub was bought last year from Punch Taverns as part of a portfolio of property, by development firm Bacchus Partnership.

The company had a similar application to demolish and replace the pub, and an empty shop next door, turned down by the council in December.

It was refused on design grounds, but at the time Cllr Luke Stubbs said he hoped the council could save community pubs from closure, on the grounds of their importance to the city.

But the council has no policy to support such a decision, and had to accept Bacchus’ second application.

Cllr Stubbs said: ‘There are things about this I’m unhappy with and it’s a shame. But we have to be open to compromise.’

After Bacchus’ first attempt, staff at the pub told The News it was doing good business, and some feared Punch sold it only because it needed a refurbishment the company couldn’t afford.

Staff said they were unable to talk to The News after the second decision, but inside, events from quizzes to karaoke were advertised for every day of the week.

And Milton resident Darren Churchill said: ‘I’ve never come in here and seen it empty. It’s a place where anybody is comfortable. It’s well supported and will be greatly missed. Milton is a community and this is an important part of it.’

David Roberts, managing director of Bacchus Partners, said: ‘Operating the pub is no longer viable. The decision reached assists the delivery of much needed housing for local people. We will work to deliver a scheme which will benefit the local community.’