DEVELOPERS have unveiled plans to demolish a Portsmouth pub dating back to the 19th century to build an ‘iconic’ 14-storey hotel.
Almost 100 people have signed a petition against the redevelopment of the Market House Tavern in Mile End Road, which is a Grade Two listed building.
Burlinghill Limited has applied to the city council to demolish the pub and bed and breakfast and build a 96-room hotel.
The developer believes it should be allowed to demolish the building despite its listed status, saying it will improve the gateway to the city and benefit local businesses.
But Portsmouth City Council has warned them it will need ‘robust’ reasons to knock it down.
So far 98 residents of neighbouring Grafton Street and Estella Road have signed a petition opposing the plans.
The Tavern, which opened in the 1840s, is a pub and an 11-room B&B.
Burlinghill’s secretary Steve Arnell said: ‘We’re very excited.
‘It’s a good plan, good for the city.
‘At the moment, you come off the flyover and there’s our building overshadowed by flats.
‘It’s not an inspiring entrance to our city.
‘We have to turn people away who want to stay.
‘Nearby, The Sovereign is Whitbread’s best-performing hotel, because of the International Port, so it’s frustrating for us as we’re opposite the port.’
Mr Arnell said he hopes to get a major UK hotel chain on board.
He added: ‘Marriott is already here, so another of the top five would be good.
‘Listed buildings were cleared to make way for Gunwharf Quays.
‘This would be good for the city, so we hope the council will allow it.
‘You must move with the times for the good of the area.’
No decision has been taken on the application.
Interested parties can comment until 5pm tomorrow .
The city council’s head of planning, Claire Upton-Brown, said: ‘Buildings are listed because they’re historic or architecturally interesting.
‘An applicant must demonstrate very strong reasons to demolish a listed building.’