New karaoke bar could open in Southsea at former Conservative club

The former Southsea Conservative Club, Albert Road, Southsea. Picture: Allan Hutchings
The former Southsea Conservative Club, Albert Road, Southsea. Picture: Allan Hutchings
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A SOUTHSEA site that caused controversy when it was considered for use as a strip club could become a karaoke bar.

Campaigners were buoyed in March when Portsmouth councillors threw out plans for a lap dancing venue at a former Conservative club on Albert Road.

Since then work has already started to convert the property’s ground floor into a board game cafe, called Dice.

Now, an application has been made to transform the building’s first floor into a karaoke venue and bar.

The plans show there would be eight private booths for singing, each with a screen, seating area and a toilet. A small bar would be available to serve the booths.

Each booth would be adequately sound-proofed and no external alterations to the building are proposed.

Speaking about the decision to reject the lap dancing club, Matthew Tiller, a spokesperson for neighbouring venue the Wedgewood Rooms, said: ‘I am glad that the decision made was what the people wanted. We're really happy that the guys from Dice are next door, to see new businesses like that is brilliant. I personally have no objection to a karaoke bar, it could be a great addition to the road.’

Domestic abuse charity, Aurora New Dawn, was previously vocal about its fears for the potential strip joint. Zoe Jackson, from the charity, said: ‘Albert Road is a vibrant community area and the premises in question is close to schools, community shops and the Wedgewood Rooms.

‘As an organisation, Aurora have been open about our opposition to lap dancing clubs in general, and specifically their impact on the safety and wellbeing of women. Whilst we still believe there is no ‘right’ location for so-called sexual entertainment venues, the new proposal seems to be a much more fitting use of this building given it’s community location.’

Councillors will vote on the venue at a future committee. The site’s owner, Paul Ojla, was approached for comment.