Hopes are high that Bloxham villagers have been given a final chance to convert a disused pub into a community hub.
The Red Lion Hub gave up attempts to buy the derelict pub because legal charges imposed by its owners, Fuller’s Brewery, would prevent them getting loans for a revamp.
But Hub chairman Colin Challenger said Fuller’s has now waived the ‘overage’ charge – a right to a share of any profit made from the future sale of the building – but has increased the asking price from £300,000 to £400,000.
He said: “The rot, damp and damage caused by 18 months of being boarded up means the property value is much lower.
“They’re assuming we’ll get planning permission and sell it but we are only interested in a pub, restaurant and hub.”
The village has raised £400,000 but if it bought at that price it would have nothing left for renovation.
Peter Turner of Fuller’s said: “I’d love to sell it to the community and am looking to find ways to do that. We offered it to the hub at £300,000 with the overage, but put that up to £400,000 without the charge which would only apply to profit over the purchase price.”
A public meeting is due to be held in early February to seek extra cash pledges and decide a workable plan so no more time is lost.
Shares are £250 each. Shareholders include former villagers from Vancouver, Shanghai and Sydney.
Bloxham hopes to develop and convert the Red Lion’s buildings as a community resource with pub, restaurant, coffee bar, meeting rooms and other facilities.