Portsmouth Blackwell's under threat of closure in 'desperately sad' situation

Portsmouth Blackwell's under threat of closure in 'desperately sad' situation

The Blackwell's bookshop at the University of Portsmouth may be forced to close if it is unable to come to an agreement about new premises.

Blackwell's is currently in negotations with its landlord the University of Portsmouth about the shop's tenancy, with the university wanting to reuse the space for a different purpose. If no new agreement is reached by 22nd December, the Cambridge Road store will close after 15 years of trading.

Manager Jo West told The Portsmouth News that the situation was “desperately sad”.

“We have been struggling over the past few years – as have most bookshops – and the university has been supportive to us in terms of our rent", said West. “But we know they now want to reuse the space we are in and they have not been able to provide what we think might be a viable site. It is desperately sad... We really hope an agreement can be struck.”

A petition to save the bookshop has been signed by 856 people.

Created by city author Matt Wingett, it calls the shop a "powerful ambassador" for both the university and for Blackwell's as well as a community hub for creative and academic talent. It also said the shop does important work connecting the university with the wider population in Portsmouth.

“We ask the University of Portsmouth and Blackwell's not to bring an end to a deeply cherished community asset that can be of profit to the university. There is much social capital invested in this bookshop, and we want UoP to use it to help secure Blackwell's bookshop's long-term future both as a viable business and a resource for the people of Portsmouth", said the petition.

A spokesperson for the University of Portsmouth said: "The university has been in discussions with Blackwell’s over a number of months about the long-term arrangements of the shop. We have been working closely with them to see if we can find suitable alternative arrangements but unfortunately to date, we have not been able to agree on a location."