Here is what will happen to the former Drift in the City site

‘SACRED’ views to Portsmouth’s world war memorials will be opened up as part of new plans for the site of the former Drift in the City bar.

Thursday, 21st March 2019, 8:10 am
Updated Thursday, 21st March 2019, 8:16 am
Sketch images for civic memorial space proposals

Portsmouth City Council has revealed its proposal for the space in Guildhall Square that includes removing part of the low wall in front of the monuments and adding new seating areas and plants.

It comes after the demolition of the derelict Drift in the City bar last year that stood in front of the memorials.

Vincent Mount, the council's senior landscape artist explained why the wall would be part removed. He said: 'Some people think memorial spaces should be sacred and protected.

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Sketch images for civic memorial space proposals

'I think while that building was there occupying that space the wall did protect the space but now it's gone it would make much more sense to open it up.'

Monuments officer, David Evans, added: 'This memorial was put in place really to remind people what happens when nations go to war so it is so important that people can have easy access to it.

'On Remembrance Sunday Portsmouth has the largest number of people attending the service outside of London. Our memorials are so important to us.'

Sketch images for civic memorial space proposals

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The top of the low wall in front of the monuments will be reused for the top of the Second World War memorial, and the rest of it will have a section cut out of the middle to allow people to walk through.

The council's deputy leader, Councillor Steve Pitt, said: 'Drift had been derelict for a long time, it had been offered out to the market and no one was interested.

'I've always felt that it blocked the natural vista through to the war memorial, which is an amazing monument that we have to all those fallen in both wars.

Sketch images for civic memorial space proposals

'It's now going to be a lovely new development of public realm space. We're going to make it a lovely and inviting space for people to be drawn into and there are plans to remove the wall that blocks the memorial and re-use the stone from that to improve the public space.'

A budget of £200,000 has been set for the works but the costs haven't been finalised. An extra £40,000 will be used to create a new plaque to include 1,500 names of First World War fallen that had been recently discovered.

Plans were displayed on Wednesday at The Square Kitchen in the Guildhall, and will be again today (March 21) in the Portsmouth and Southsea railway station foyer, from 8am to 10am, and 4pm to 6pm.

Drift in the City closed in 2003.