THE race is on to stop the demolition of an historic pub to make way for two big houses.
The Fox and Hounds, in School Lane, Denmead, closes on Sunday and customers who have used it for decades are desperate to stop it being bulldozed.
The current owners, Liberty Leasing, put in an application to build two four-bedroom houses after landlords Ginny and Stephen Paul said they could no longer run it as a business.
Despite an offer to take it over by someone from the village, who does not wish to be named, the owners are ploughing ahead with the development plans.
Now the locals are hoping councillors will turn down the homes scheme.
Jon Pocock, of Hambledon Road, has used the pub for more than 20 years.
He said: ‘It’s an historic landmark in the village. It’s a focal point, a real hub of the community.
‘I’ve been going there for a long time and it’s because of the ambience and the people and a lot of us have made lifelong friends in there.
‘A lot of young people in the village got their first jobs there.’
Rob Stark, of Upper Crabbick Lane, has been a regular for more than two decades and is fighting to save it.
He said: ‘Whilst The Fox and Hounds is not a listed building it has a 120-year history as a pub.
‘The next nearest pubs are over one mile away and without a bus service are difficult to get to.
‘It is dangerous to try and walk along the roads at night as they are unlit and there are no pavements.
‘There is enough new building going on in the area without allowing a development that contributes to destroying our heritage of old buildings and traditional country pubs which serve as a community asset.
‘With some investment the pub could be brought back to its former glory.’
Today is the last chance to make representations to Winchester City Council, the local planning authority.
Denmead Parish Council has objected to the plans.
A decision has not yet been made on whether it will go to committee but its future should be decided next month.
Mrs Paul did not want to comment to The News but confirmed the last pint will be pulled on April 1.