CAMPAIGNERS have vowed not to give up their fight to save an historic pub.
Supporters of the Fox and Hounds pub, in Denmead, were counting on the government’s new Localism Bill to save it from being demolished and turned into housing.
But Winchester City Council has now said it cannot be put on the Community Asset Register – which would have given the community the right to bid for the pub and stopped owners from selling it until they had made their bid.
After consultation with the owners, the council says it has not seen proof that it will be a viable business as a pub in five years’ time and therefore they cannot put it on the list.
In a statement the council said: ‘For a building or open space to be listed the nominators need to explain why it has great social importance for the local community, and demonstrate that its benefits can continue in the future, especially if the amenity has recently closed.
‘The early nominations to Winchester City Council include sites in Bishop’s Waltham and Denmead.
The first nomination to be determined – the former Fox and Hounds Public House in Denmead – has not been successful on this occasion because it did not meet the definition criteria, but the city council welcomes re-nomination if further supporting information can be supplied.’
Nigel Jardine, who has used the pub for more than 30 years, said he will not give up the fight.
‘We will continue,’ he said.
‘My opinion is that the council has not acted within the spirit of the legislation.
‘The spirit of the legislation says that if a thing is a community asset you should try and save it. I understand they are worried that they may have to pay compensation to the owners but this is the first case they have dealt with under this legislation and I think they have been a little too cautious.’
At a meeting of Denmead Parish Council last week chairman Neil Lander-Brinkley said members would have another go at getting it listed as there is nothing in the legislation to stop that.
There are now no public houses in the western end of Denmead, following the closure of The Fox and Hounds last Easter.
But Mr Jardine says even if they are unable to get it reopened as a pub they want to make sure the 130-year-old building cannot be bulldozed.