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Buy-out bid might save pub from bulldozers

Campaigners are hoping for extra time to turn the under-threat Fountain pub in Horsham into a community pub.

They say at least £200,000 has been offered towards a potential buy-out from brewers Hall  and Woodhouse but they need more time to organise the venture.

Horsham district councillors are due to decide an application for five houses on the site on June  9.

But the campaign group hopes they will defer a decision while more inquiries are pursued.

The pub, which is more than 100 years old, has recently been put back on the market at a value of £400,000.

Company  director Richard Street, of  Rusper Road, Horsham, told the Post that real ale group CAMRA would be supporting  the idea under the Community Asset Programme. He said: “It has been done in other places, so it’s possible. I have had quite a substantial offer already, and one guy has offered to put in £200,000.

“What they are proposing to build there is fine, we have no objections to that. It is just where they are building them.”

An online petition started by campaigner Matt Emery has attracted well over 100 objections and leaflets have encouraged people to send their own written objections to the council to add weight to the debate.

Mr Street said: “Obviously to save it someone is going to have to buy it as a pub. Hall and Woodhouse have made it quite clear they have got no use for it.

“Another  possibility is running it as a local community pub. There is quite a lot of interest in that.  If it was to go down that route a group of investors would buy the pub, and we would employ a landlord or landlady to run it.”

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