The Red Lion in Bloxham will finally be given a new lease of life after it was purchased from its owners Fullers by a neighbouring pub.
Mark and Sandra Page of The Joiners Arms on Old Bridge Road, made a bid to buy the pub last year but were 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.
The building has stood derelict for more than a year but now Mr and Mrs Page signed forms yesterday (Thursday) and will embark on a renovation project to bring it back to its former glory.
Mrs Page said: “It is really exciting and there is a lot of work ahead. We have done the easy bit and signed the forms but now the hard work starts now. We have got a few ideas that we would like to do but it is going to cost a lot.”
The couple have been running the Joiners Arms for about 15 years and will look to run both pubs in tandem. They added though that the Red Lion would not officially open for business until June/July.
Colin Challenger, part of the Red Lion Hub steering group, said: “We were in conversation with the Page’s and knew it was on the cards and now it has happened it is good news in the sense that the building has been preserved as a pub. Fullers have been prevented from turning it into a housing estate.
“It would have been preferable to have a community pub but this is the second best result and we wish the Page’s luck in their venture.”
On its website, the Red Lion Hub committee assures villagers their money is safe and will be returned once the sale is completely watertight.
It said: “The Committee would like to say thank you to everybody for all their support. Things can always go wrong with property sales so we will stay ready in the wings in case anything should do so.
“Therefore we request that investors continue to leave their subscriptions in place so that the village remains able to exchange contracts and complete a purchase at the price offered should the sale to Mark and Sandra not be completed.
We wish Mark and Sandra success in their bid. All share subscriptions will be returned promptly upon completion of a sale by Fullers to the Pages. If you are a contributor and have changed your address or email address please let the committee know at firstname.lastname@example.org”