THERE are fresh hopes the pints will flow once more at a ‘neglected’ West Oxford pub as a brewery is revealed as the new owner.

The Holly Bush closed in 2015 and though plans to convert it into housing were rejected by the city council’s planning department last year residents feared the boozer would never be brought back to life.

Now Susanna Pressel, city councillor for Jericho and Osney has said she understands the Bedford-based brewery Charles Wells has purchased the Bridge Street building and this has also been confirmed by Oxford City Council.

She said: “Many local people are delighted. This is just what they have been hoping for. The building is in a prominent place and should be able to attract passing trade as well as local trade from the large number of people who live in the area.

“If it is cleaned up and well run, with regard to what local people want it could be well-supported and a great success.”

A spokeswoman for the brewery refused to confirm the sale, however, saying: “Charles Wells is looking for a second site in Oxford although a specific location hasn’t been confirmed yet.”

Charles Wells, which has more than 200 pubs, recently relaunched The Oxford Blue in Marston Street, as part of its Pizza, Pots and Pints brand.

The future of the Holly Bush was first thrown into doubt in 2013 when its owner, Suffolk brewery Greene King, sold the pub and its contents.

It was then bought by Krystian Volak, of Hollybush Property ltd, who turned it into a shisha lounge until July 2015 when the city council turned down a retrospective planning application. An application was submitted last year by VO Properties, which Mr Volak is also a company director of, to turn the empty pub into two three-bedroom properties and build a new four-bedroom house on surrounding land.

This was refused by planning officers in March 2017, with the decision notice stating the application had not ‘sufficiently justified’ the loss of the pub, a registered asset of community value.

Cllr Pressel said: “Unfortunately, since then it has been used as an HMO (House of Multiple Occupation) and allowed to become dirty and run-down, both inside and out.” A city council spokesman said officers had struggled to find out who owned the building in recent months but have now issued Charles Wells with a notice to clean-up of the area.