THE sale of a pub which has been registered as a community asset has fallen through at the last moment.

Pub company Enterprise Inns had been planning to sell the Fairview Inn in Headington.

But Oxford City Council designated the Glebelands pub as an asset of community value just as contracts for the sale were being exchanged.

The buyer – who has not been identified – has now pulled out of the sale. If an asset is registered as being of “community value”, communities have the right to bid for it, and the status affords it added protection.

Estate agents Fleurets has now listed the pub for sale again, which means the community can try to buy it.

Glebelands resident Darren Grant said the pub was being sold for about £380,000 but he did not know who the would-be buyers were.

He said: “It is very difficult to tell if we could raise that amount of money. We don’t know what our next move is yet. We will have a meeting of the residents’ association to see if we can make an offer.

“We knew from the start that it was not the buyer’s intention to keep it as a pub but this shows that community asset status has some teeth.”

The Fairview Inn was built by Reading-based brewers H & G Simonds and opened in September 1959.

Despite its relative youth, the pub is considered by the Campaign for Real Ale an historically important one.

It is listed on CAMRA’s National Inventory of Historic Pub Interiors as having “wonderful” full-height wall panelling.

Now that the pub has community asset status the local community has a six-week moratorium period to consider registering an interest to buy.

Should the local community wish to make an offer a six-month period will be granted to allow funding to be found.

Enterprise Inns spokeswoman Vicky Averis said: “We appreciate the pub has been listed as an asset of community value and therefore are unable to sell the pub during the moratorium period, at the end of which we will review the position.”

The pub had not been withdrawn from sale because it was still the company’s intention to sell it. She did not identify the buyer.

Chris Irving of Fleurets confirmed the buyer had pulled out and said while the pub was still for sale it could not formally be sold for six weeks.