AN OXFORD-based pub company has stepped in to attempt to save a sorely-missed local.

Three years after pints were last poured in the Somerset in Marston Road, the brains behind Jericho’s Rickety Press and East Oxford’s Rusty Bicycle has launched a bid to reopen it.

Dodo Pub Company, which runs the popular gastropubs, has confirmed it is negotiations to take over at the Somerset.

The firm is understood to be in the final stages of agreeing a deal and will submit a licensing application on Monday.

Marston residents who have campaigned tirelessly to save the building - the last pub in the area - are now anxiously awaiting the contract being finalised before celebrations can begin.

READ MORE: 'Pop-up pub' shows big support for boozer 

Co-organiser of the Save our Somerset campaign Wendy Twist, said: “We know the owner has agreed to lease the building to a pub company, and keep it as a pub.

“Dodo is in negotiations. Nothing is 100 per cent confirmed - we’re not counting our chickens yet - but it’s obviously very hopeful.”

Oxford Mail:

If a contract is agreed, the pub could be open again early in the new year.

Supporters have been emailed an update with details about what Dodo could do with the building.

Taking a similar approach to their existing pubs, the Somerset would have a ‘relaxed but upbeat’ atmosphere, opening from 8am every day for breakfast.

It would only offer live music on special occasions but run a regular programme of other events which could include pub quizzes and farmers markets.

Oxford Mail:

Dodo's Rusty Bicycle Pub

Food could include wood-fired pizzas and a full menu of small bites, salads and burgers as well as breakfast and brunch.

Councillor for the area Mick Haines, who used to play for the pub’s darts team, said it was ‘fantastic news’.

He added: “I think it’s the best outcome we could have wished for.

“People have been fighting for it all along, we have all stuck together and have never given up.

“We’ve proved how much demand there is and I’m sure it will be a big success.”

The Somerset closed in 2014 and has sat empty ever since – one of 15 pubs to have shut in the city in a decade.

The building was mooted as an Islamic Cultural Centre in March but hundreds have since attended pop up pub events in an attempt to show how well-used a pub in that area would be.

READ MORE: Could pub turn into Muslim education centre?

Oxford Mail: Artist's impression of what Somerset House could look like as a cafe and education centre. Picture supplied by The Wilaya Trust.

Dave Richardson, spokesman for Oxford CAMRA, said: “Dodo has a good track record in rescuing failing pubs and should do well in an area with no pub within easy walking distance.

“The rebirth of the Somerset, and also the Hollybush in Osney Island (by brewer Charles Wells), indicates that the worst of pub closures are over at least in Oxford.”