Concerns over redevelopment of historic Portsmouth pub

The Old Canal Inn
The Old Canal Inn
Ray Langwell who is in a running battle with Gosport Borough Council over the illegal mooring of his boat at The Hardway in Gosport.
Picture Ian Hargreaves  (181099-1)

‘It almost left me homeless’: Boat owner hits out at council over illegal mooring dispute

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RESIDENTS have voiced concerns over plans to turn a historic city pub into a shop with flats.

A petition has been signed by 62 neighbours against the bid to convert the former Old Canal Inn, in Shirley Avenue, Eastney, which closed in May.

They are concerned the building will lose its character and that noise will be become an issue.

The applicant, Danny Mart, wants to put a shop in the ground floor, but as permission isn’t needed for that it is not part of the planning application.

Six original windows on the shop side have already been ripped out and bin and bicycle stores would go in.

A decision is to be made over the application by Portsmouth City Council’s planning committee on Wednesday. A report going before members acknowledges the venue is a ‘bespoke 1930s Queen Anne-influenced public house that includes all of the classic hallmarks of a traditional Portsmouth pub.’

It has green glazed bricks and includes the name of its former brewery, Portsmouth United Breweries, which at one time was the second largest brewery in the city after Brickwoods. Only a handful of such buildings still survive in the area.

Pauline Hester, of Kingsley Road, said: ‘Although the property was previously a pub there were no issues and there was not excessive noise or traffic.

‘The change of this building to a shop will cause damage to the community in this quiet residential street. We already have a vast and varied selection of shops which I support on Milton Road and we do not need another shop.’

Phil Morgan, of Kingsley Road, said: ‘Since the Old Canal’s closure, the blocking-up of the windows of a building which should by architectural terms have some form of listed status is pretty appalling.’

Council officers have recommended the bid be refused because proposed alterations to the outside of the building would be ‘significantly harmful’ to the character of the building.

Nandakumar Vayanaperumal, owner of Danny Mart, insisted windows were removed for security purposes to stop people breaking in. He said green tiles would not be removed.