VILLAGERS are hoping to persuade local people to join together to buy and take over the running of an empty pub.
The Fox and Hounds in Charwelton closed on Thursday, January 6, and now stands boarded up by the main road.
But the pub has become the focus of a growing campaign for villagers to buy it out and run it as a co-operative.
Villager Richard Bourne has written to all 60 households in the village to see if there is anyone interested in forming a group to buy the pub off its owners Enterprise Inns.
He said: “It started 12 months ago at a Christmas party when we were talking about the state of the pub and how it could be improved. Someone fielded the idea of buying it as a village and running it as some other places do as a co-op.
“The topic came up again at a party this Christmas because the pub wasn’t serving draught beer any more, only bottles and cans.
“And then last Thursday the pub closed and it’s now boarded up.”
Other than the church and village hall, the pub is Charwelton’s only local facility. The community lost its shop and post office a number of years ago.
Without a pub, villagers wanting to have a drink out would either have to drive, or face walking to Hellidon, or into Warwickshire to find their nearest pub.
Mr Bourne said: “I sent the letter out and I’ve had about 20 responses so far saying they would be interested and wanting up be kept up to date.
“At the moment we’re only asking people about the principle of taking it on, we haven’t asked anyone about getting involved financially.
“Over the last two or three years the pub has gone down hill.
“The problem is that it needs work doing to it to bring it back up to standard.
“If we ran it locally we could sell the beer and other things that local people want to drink, and the type of food that people want to eat.
“Plus if we owned it we wouldn’t have to pay the company, so we could invest in it.
“I emailed Enterprise Inns to find out what was happening with the pub, and they’ve told us that it isn’t on the company’s list of assets to sell off.
“So it looks like they are tying to get another person to take it on and most likely end up in financial trouble again.”
Enterprise Inns is currently advertising for someone to take on a new lease or tenancy at the Fox and Hounds.