A VILLAGE community which missed out on buying its last pub is calling for the owner to sell the boozer to them.

The White Horse in Stonesfield was bought in January by property developer Jonathan Bowers following an unsuccessful bid by the community.

Campaigners say there are no signs of the pub reopening and that the property is ‘deteriorating’ due to it being empty.

A public meeting was held at Stonesfield Village Hall with fears growing that an application for change of use might be planned.

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After the meeting, Stonesfield Pub Group chair Steve Callaghan said: “There are no signs that it is being prepared for reopening, nor any advertising for a tenant to run it.

“We have offered to share our business plans and the research that we carried out with the local customer base, and we have also repeated our offer to buy the pub several times to Mr Bowers, should he reconsider ownership.

“Since July, many other pubs in the area have made a considerable amount of effort to recover from Covid.

“Some have shown that a little creativity, flexibility, and a real eye for what makes a pub successful, can attract customers back.

“As a community pub, The White Horse could benefit the community even further.”

Last year, the campaign to buy and run the pub as a community asset gained worldwide attention when Homeland star Rupert Friend bought shares in the venture, while The New York Times reported on the situation.

Almost half a million pounds was raised from supporters across the globe, however the bid was ultimately unsuccessful.

The majority of those who bought shares have kept their money with the campaign, with the community still keen to buy and run the pub.

Mr Callaghan added: “The strong show of support at our public meeting proves this village still wants a pub as the hub in our community.

“We urge Mr Bowers to reopen The White Horse or to reconsider selling it to the community.

“There are a number of cases of local pubs that have been boarded up for a decade or longer.

“It would be in nobody’s interest to see The White Horse in Stonesfield become another name on that list.”

Mr Callaghan also said the group was taking legal advice regarding a potential application for a compulsory purchase order, which allows public bodies to force owners to sell up.

There is growing concern over the state of the pub, with both roof tiles and the pub sign having recently fallen down.

Mr Bowers was contacted for a comment.