Rogate villagers have launched a petition calling for support to save their pub, The White Horse which has been closed for four weeks.
Brian Allison, former chairman of the village hall committee and new chairman Emma Yellop are heading the campaign and have already taken steps to have it made a community asset which would give them the potential to buy the pub.
Emma said: “We have had a tremendous amount of support for the campaign to save the pub and now we have launched the petition to show the strength of feeling and ask for support to make it a community asset.”
She said she was in talks with Chichester District Council to progress the community asset bid.
She was also talking to Harvey’s Brewery, which owns the pub to discuss the possibility of the village buying The White Horse.
“We are told there is someone interested in taking over the lease of The White Horse and reopening it and they are being interviewed by the brewery at the moment,” said Emma.
“The brewery has also talked about the village taking on the lease of the pub, but it needs a lot of money spent on refurbishments and we have contacted the chief executive to ask him if we can buy it outright.”
She said many people in Rogate were keen to from a support group.
Once she and Brian had more information from the brewery and from CDC about the community asset bid, they would be able to plan the next move.
“We really must get it reopened,” she told the Observer, “It looks a bit of a mess and rather sad at the moment.
“When you drive through the village at night there are no longer any lights on at the pub and it has really taken the heart out of the village. It is really horrible.”
She said it was a social hub for villagers who were on their own and there had been a knock on effect on the football club who always used to decamp there after matches and had nowhere to go at the moment.
“The pub also plays a huge part in the annual village fete. Everyone who puts their heart and soul into the fete goes there afterwards. It is really a community centre,” said Emma.
Harvey’s Brewery were not able to comment on the future of the pub.
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