WHEN regulars at a Denmead pub heard the news it was to close they vowed to do all they could to save it.
Now, 18 months later they have been true to their word and have negotiated a deal for the community to buy the 140-year-old Fox and Hounds.
Through dogged determination the six-strong group have fought off developers’ plans to turn the pub into two houses, and finally persuaded the owners to sell it to them – after getting the building listed as a community asset with Winchester City Council.
Now they have to raise £500,000 to buy and refurbish the landmark watering hole.
Rob Stark lives two doors down from the pub and is one of those behind the campaign to save it.
He said: ‘Since it closed the pub has been sorely missed.
‘We all missed meeting up to find out what’s going on locally.
‘It was a real hub of the community. There’s even the security aspect.
‘You talk about if someone is unwell, if anyone needs help – things that are important in a village like ours.’
He added: ‘We’re delighted it’s got to this point but I’ve got to stress that we need to raise this money to make the project work.’
A beneficial donor has been found who is putting up the £300,000 to buy the pub but that needs to be paid back and a further £200,000 raised to refurbish the building.
Meon Valley MP George Hollingbery has given his full support to the campaign.
He said: ‘This is fantastic news for the residents of Denmead – many of whom have campaigned tirelessly to get this pub back into operation as a community hub.
‘The group really should be congratulated in getting this far and we now realise the hard work starts to make sure that the refurbishment money is found to ensure the plans comes to fruition.
‘But with so much tenacity already shown, I’m sure that this will be achieved and I look forward to holding my rural surgeries at the Fox & Hounds very soon.’
Around £20,000 has already been pledged.
There are two ways to help out.
Either make a donation or an investment. There is no limit on how much you can donate.
To find out more go to foxandhounds-pub.co.uk or go to the Facebook page.