A new bid to buy and relaunch a derelict pub in Bloxham has met a brick wall because of a block designed to protect it as a community asset.
The landlords of one of the village’s two operating pubs, The Joiners’ Arms, wanted to buy the Red Lion but have been thwarted because of a Asset of Community Value (ACV) protection order requested by a village group, The Red Lion Hub.
The group which has been negotiating for years with Fullers Brewery to buy and turn the derelict pub into a versatile village community centre, had the ACV renewed in July. It means the owners can only accept bids from the hub.
“Regrettably Mark and Sarah Page of the Joiners Arms did not speak to our team before making their bid,” said Colin Challenger, chair of the Red Lion Hub committee.
“As a result we had renewed the moratorium on Fullers selling to anybody other than us . This means Mark and Sarah cannot buy before late January 2016.
“Whether Fullers accept an offer from them at that point and complete a sale with them remains to be seen.
“Our efforts throughout have been to preserve the place as a village pub rather than have it developed - as Fullers wished - into a housing estate, Sainsburys local or similar or, as the last developer they were negotiating with intended, as a low grade development of cheap rental shops with flats over.
“We therefore welcome anybody who intends to re-open the Red Lion as a pub/restaurant.”
Georgina Wald, spokesman for Fullers said: “We are still talking to all parties about the future of the pub, but as we are unable to progress in any direction until January 20 due to the ACV that is on the pub, we unfortunately have no further information to reveal at this time.
Mr Challenger said: “We will remain in the market to purchase the Red Lion at the price which has been our offer to Fullers for almost a year now.
“That price is at the top end of its valuation. We will not increase that offer and get into a bidding war with Mark and Sarah. If as we fear a sale to them does not complete, we will continue to ensure Fullers’ desire to redevelop is thwarted and a sale with current user intact will take place, probably to us.”
Mr Challenger said higher offers from developers were all conditional on obtaining planning consent. The hub expects Fullers to apply for planning permission which it will fight. In the event of consent being refused, it would then renew its offer at current market value.