A RESTAURANT entrepreneur has made a bid to turn an empty village inn into an upmarket gastro pub.
The Fox and Hounds closed earlier this year to the dismay of regulars in Denmead.
The owners, Liberty Leasing, then put in a bid to demolish the 120-year-old building and build two large homes on the site.
But the application was turned down by Winchester City Council.
Fasu Miah, who runs a chain of successful Indian restaurants and gastro pubs in the Waterlooville area, has made an offer to buy Liberty Leasing and believes it has a great future in his hands.
Mr Miah, 34, said: ‘I have contacted the owners and made my position clear on it and I’m now waiting for them to come back to me.
‘Speaking to people who used it and said it was once an amazing pub has convinced me even more that it is the right place for me.
‘For some reason residents want me to take it over. It will be a mixture of good decent English food and some Indian fusion food.’
Planning officers at Winchester felt the building, which is now empty, should be kept as a community pub and the owners, Liberty Leasing, had not made enough effort to sell it on as a going concern.
It is the kind of policy supported by The News Love Your Local campaign.
Mary Lowndes, a long-term resident of Denmead who used the pub for many years, said: ‘If the restaurant area was kept as the eating area and the drinking area stayed I don’t see any reason why that would not be a good move.
‘If it were to be knocked down it would be tragic.
‘It’s the only pub that serves that end of the village.
‘People have to drive into the village to go to the other pubs, which I know is not a great inconvenience, but it’s nice to walk to the pub for a drink.
‘The Fox and Hounds was a super pub once.’
Supporter Rob Stark was instrumental in the campaign to save the pub.
He said: ‘We are all in favour of the pub reopening and we would welcome Mr Miah. I’ve spoken to him about it several times.’
No-one from Liberty Leasing was available to comment about the bid.