URGENT structural works are being carried out to save a Winchester pub, ahead of its possible reopening next year.

Work has started on the First In Last Out, also known as the Filo, in Wales Street, after structural issues were discovered during an inspection in 2019.

A planning application was approved by Winchester City Council in 2020 for structural repairs to first floor gable wall.

But recently an emergency site meeting was needed between architects Design Management Partnership and city council officers.

The authority’s historic environment officer Stephen Appleby said that while work had started on site it was found that “the structural defects are much worse than previously thought and that the entire gable end wall isn’t actually tied into the rest of the building”.

Star Pubs and Bars, which owns the pub, has said that work is now being undertaken, despite no decision on a planning application to remove conditions from the earlier approval. The company has asked the city council to allow it to carry out works without the approval of a full material schedule and a full repair schedule.

A spokesperson said: “A wall adjoining neighbouring properties needed urgent structural repair. We are currently undertaking this in keeping with listed building requirements. The work will be completed in the next two to three weeks. It is our intention to reopen the First In Last Out next year.”

The Chronicle asked the company for more information on who was lined up to take over the pub, but it could not provide “any information on prospective candidates”.

The pub has sat empty since January 2019 and has had a ‘lease for sale’ sign on its frontage ever since.

In 2013, its bedrooms gained the reputation as the worst B&B in the country and featured on the TV programme The Hotel Inspector when it tried, unsuccessfully, to turn it round.

It is known that the First In Last Out has been dispensing beer since at least 1896 as the notice of sale displayed in the bar shows. It was then a beer-house which was a house licensed to sell beer but not spirits.

The public house has been a free house since 1976 having previously been a Charringtons house. The Filo Brewery was established at the pub in 1985 and remained here until its relocation a little further up the road in 2011.

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