The Juniper Berry pub in Southampton could become
flats

The Juniper Berry pub in Southampton could become flats

The Juniper Berry in Castle Square is steeped in history, being on the site of Jane Austen’s home.

It now appears set to face a new chapter, as a planning application has been submitted to turn the ground floor of the former watering hole into two two-bed flats and two studio apartments.

READ MORE: A look back at Southampton’s oldest pubs

The plans have been drawn up by Eastleigh-based ACA Architectural Design for the applicant, Mandair Property Holdings Ltd.

It would see the flats have a mix of open plan kitchen and living spaces and separate living rooms and kitchens.

According to the plans, no changes would be made to the iconic exterior of the building, and ‘sensitive internal reconfiguring’ would be undertaken with ‘minimal structural alterations’ to the existing historic materials inside.

While the mock-Tudor building is itself not listed, it is adjacent to a Grade I-listed section of wall running from the Bargate to Arundel Tower and lies within a conservation area.

No car parking spaces would be provided and five wheelie bins and one glass box would be allocated to the flats, stored next to the building behind a 1.8m-tall gate.

Four cycle spaces are planned within the building.

The architects said the conversion was ‘far more sympathetic and compatible with the area’ adding: “The loss of an employment site would not impact this city centre location, given the immediate proximity to local services and other public houses.

“Furthermore, the proposed change of use would not present any external changes to the host building, thus there would be no adverse impact on the conservation area or their settings.”   

So far there has been one objection lodged to the council.

The objector said it was ‘sad to see that this pub has no plans for continuing operation’, and that while the plans ‘seemed sensible’ they were concerned about how they would work alongside the guest house on the first floor.

They said: “It seems to me therefore that the current application should be refused unless the top floor is also converted to flats which meet the national space standards.”

It is the latest twist in the rollercoaster saga of The Juniper Berry, which first closed under mysterious circumstances in February 2023.

It was then reopened in September when former landlords of The Hinkler pub in Thornhill, John and Tracey Horrocks, picked up the reins – only to close again at the end of last year when they discovered a raft of issues including asbestos, electrical defects, a leaking roof and no heating.

In April, it went on the market for a freehold guide price of £550,000.

The application will be considered by Southampton City Council’s planning department.

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