A PUB that used to be CS Lewis’ local has closed after more than 75 years.
The Ampleforth Arms in Risinghurst has been boarded up and put up for sale for £625,000 promting fears it could be turned into flats.
The pub opened in 1939 when the Risinghurst estate was developed, and became a regular haunt of Oxford-based writer Lewis when he lived close by at The Kilns.
The Punch Taverns-owned pub was renovated two years ago, but shut down suddenly last weekend.
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The site is being sold as a pub and advertised by Hitchin-based estate agents Urbanside Property Ltd.
Risinghurst Parish Council chairman Babara Naylor said making the pub a community asset would be a good idea.
If the pub becomes a community asset it means there will be a six-month moratorium when it goes up for sale so any community group interested has time to put together a bid, though the owner has the final say. But it was yet to be discussed by the full parish council, Mrs Naylor said.
She added: “At our last meeting we had no news of the Ampleforth Arms closing. The pub is a great asset for the community and it being boarded up is an eyesore on our estate. I would like to see it protected and made into a community pub with good food and be friendly for families.”
A Punch Taverns spokeswoman said: “We can confirm that our most recent tenants provided notice of their intention to leave the Ampleforth Arms.
“This was accepted by Punch Taverns and the pub has closed.
Following a review of the pub business a commercial decision has been made to place the pub on the open market for sale.
“Punch Taverns does not have any immediate plans to reopen the Ampleforth Arms.”
Oxford city councillor Dee Sinclair
Oxford city councillor Dee Sinclair urged the council to provide information to the community on the possibility of making the pub a community asset.
But the parish council must decide whether it wants to ask the city council planning department to grant the Ampleforth Arms community asset status. Mrs Naylor said: “We need to ensure it remains a pub and not developed into numerous flats, which seem to be popping up everywhere, ruining the atmosphere and losing the sense of friendship and wellbeing within the community.”
Mrs Sinclair said: “It would be nice to keep it as a community pub but pubs in the area have lost an enormous amount of business in the last few years.
“It’s sad to see them go, but people’s habits have changed.”
The property does not have any permissions pending for redevelopment or demolition.