THEY have battled flooding almost constantly since December.

But now South Hinksey villagers may finally be given some good news.

The General Elliot pub in Manor Road, which has been shut since 2009, could finally reopen this year.

The site is currently owned by Vale Brewery, which attempted to sell the pub in 2012, but Adrian Porter of Manor Road said he has been speaking to a local couple who have now taken on the lease.

The pub won Oxford Camra’s pub of the year award in 2007 and 2008, but closed in 2009 after the landlord suddenly left.

Since then residents have seen-off multiple attempts to redevelop the site for residential uses, with the last controversial application to build houses on its car park being withdrawn by the agent in August 2013.

They also started gathering to drink and socialise in each other’s homes, but the ‘mock pub’ scheme soon grew too large, with up to 60 people turning up at one time.

Now work has begun on refurbishing the building to be a pub again, Mr Porter said, but the new tenants do not wish to be named at this stage.

They hope to open the pub by the summer and possibly buy it once it has “got off the ground”, Mr Porter added.

The father-of-three said: “This is the best news the village has had in a long time and the most promising chance we have seen yet.

“The pub has been shut for years now and it would be fantastic, not just for us but for people in surrounding areas, to get it open again.

“If they do not want to do all the work themselves, I know from speaking to other people in the village that they would certainly be offered assistance.”

South Hinksey Parish Council chairwoman Maggie Rawcliffe said it was terrific news.

Mrs Rawcliffe said: “It would be wonderful to see the pub return to its heyday, so I am sure everyone will get behind it. There used to be be all sorts of things going on at the General Elliot, so I hope that people who used to come from other places like Kennington and New Hinksey will also rediscover it.”

The Oxford Mail approached Vale Brewery for comment, but received no response.