ONE of CS Lewis’s old watering holes could be saved after campaigners registered it as a community asset.
The Ampleforth Arms in Risinghurst was closed in early June and put on the market for £625,000 by the current owners.
The pub opened in 1939 and according to CS Lewis expert Ronald Brind, it was frequented by the Narnia author with his friend and fellow writer JRR Tolkien.
The sale of the pub has now been halted thanks to the Save the Amp group which has registered the drinking hole as an asset of community value.
Save the Amp now has 265 supporters and it is hoped that the group can get the funds or grants in place to buy the property.
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An asset of community value can be registered to focal points like pubs, halls, education centres and pavilions. If the property is put up for sale, a community can halt the sale for six months in order to make its own bid.
Save the Amp chairwoman Lyn Simms, 55, who has lived in Risinghurst for more than 30 years, said: “We have stopped the pub being demolished and turned into flats and we now have enough time to sort out purchasing it for the community.
I don’t think there’s a greater need for housing on the Risinghurst estate .”
There are at least three pubs in Oxfordshire which have been brought and run as community companies including the White Hart in Wolvercote and the Bull Inn in Great Milton, and last year the Seven Stars in Marsh Baldon was reopened by a community group.
The group also wants to develop the pub as a cafe and meeting centre.
The Save the Amp group will hold a meeting for residents at 6.30pm on September 4 at the Risinghurst Community Centre.
For information on the group’s plans visit its website at theamprevival.co.uk.
COMMUNITIES across Oxford have spent years using asset of community value orders to protect sites of local significance and areas of local importance.
The list includes dog racetrack Oxford Stadium, which ceased racing in 2012. Campaigners have been using the order to prevent the redevelopment of the site, and are hopeful that it can remain a dog racetrack.
The Stansfeld Outdoor Education Centre was also named a community asset earlier this year, which has given Headington-based campaigners the chance to buy the land, but instead the group has worked with potential bidders to hopefully develop a forestry school once the land is sold.
Numerous pubs such as Headington’s Fairview Inn and Marston’s Jack Russell Pub have also had community asset orders put on them.