A HISTORIC Hampshire pub which was shut and boarded up has been saved, the Daily Echo can reveal.
Traders and residents feared that the Bitterne Park Hotel would be closed for good after landlord Ian Houston called last orders at a farewell party last month.
But they can now breathe easy after another Southampton landlord stepped in to save the pub.
Kevin Guerrier, who is landlord of the Obelisk Pub in Woolston, will now take up the reins after thrashing out a deal with Enterprise Inns.
He said: “I have a big issue with pubs closing down and as soon as I heard the Bitterne Park Hotel ceased trading I called Enterprise to try and take it over.”
“I have been in there once before and found it quite dilapidated, but it was a lively pub and it will be again.”
“I want it to be a place where people can come and take their children and dogs to and we will also be focusing on providing good food.”
In 2011 Kevin stepped into save another historic city pub when he became landlord of the Obelisk.
When he saw in the Daily Echo that the Bitterne Park was up for sale he decided to take action.
He has appealed for people who worked at the pub recently to speak to him as there will now be three full-time positions available.
The pub will officially open for business on February 10 or 11 and will be refurbished this spring.
The news that the pub has been saved has been welcomed by the leader of Southampton City Council, Simon Letts, who is fighting to stop pubs in the city being converted into shops and takeaways.
He said: “I am delighted that it is saved and that a valuable pub in the city continues to trade. I think it has a lot of potential – hopefully Kevin will make a success of it.”
A statement from Enterprise Inns, said: “We are very pleased to welcome Kevin Guerrier as the new publican of the Bitterne Park Hotel.
“Kevin is an experienced and successful local pub operator and we are confident the site has a great future in his hands.”