A VILLAGE is taking steps to protect its local pub, where there are plans to build houses on the old beer garden, that may allow punters to buy it.

The garden and car park behind the George Inn on Sandford Road in Littlemore could become eight homes, if plans by KJD Developments go ahead.

Punters of the pub and residents who live nearby have started a petition calling for the development to be stopped, as they think getting rid of the pub’s car park could lead it to lose business and close.

And now, Littlemore Parish Council has waded into the debate over the pub’s future, describing it as an ‘establishment which gives so much to the community’.

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The parish wants make the George ‘an asset of community value’, giving it special protection which might give villagers the option to buy it in the future.

Registering the pub as an asset of community value means that Littlemore Parish Council would be informed in the event the public house was put up for sale or receives a bid.

The parish would then have six weeks to state if they intend to lodge an offer with a further four and a half months to raise the money, although the owners would still have the freedom to choose their favoured bidder.

Lynda Comber, Littlemore Parish Council chairman, was optimistic that Oxford City Council would award the special status following the outpouring of local support for the pub.

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The George Inn. Picture: Ed Nix

She said: “The parish council have objected the planning application for the development and would be submitting a request to Oxford City Council to get the well-liked pub protected.”

“This establishment gives so much to the community and has raised thousands of pounds for local groups and organisations by holding regular events, why would we want to see this go?”

She added: “The objections to this application shows how well liked this establishment is, every month the pub lays on an over 60s lunch, is home to many other local sports and welcomes supporters to relax and socialise before heading to watch Oxford United.

“We hope that Oxford City Council agrees with us and lists it as an asset of community value.”

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The land behind the pub used to be part of the same plot of land, before being sold to KJD Investments.

Locals are also worried that losing the pub parking will lead cars to spill over onto Sandford Road.

There are community-run pubs across Oxfordshire, which have been bought from breweries by locals to keep them open.

The Oxfordshire Community Pub Network gives the alehouse owners a chance to speak to one another.

Included in its membership are the White Hart, Wolvercote, and the Red Lion, Northmoor, alongside others.