Oxford Liberal Democrats have announced they will oppose any change of use application for the Lamb & Flag pub following its closure.

Owners St John’s College announced last month that the historic hostelry in St Giles was closing as takings have fallen due to repeated coronavirus lockdowns.

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Party members in the city are also highlighting the option of the pub being named an Asset of Community Value, which would give a community group the opportunity to buy the pub and ensure new owners needed planning permission for any change of use or demolition, if a long-term commercial solution can’t be found.

Read again: Historic Lamb & Flag pub is to close

The Liberal Democrats’ campaigning follows the lead of the local branch of CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) which said it would oppose any change of use and Dave Richardson, a spokesman for the branch, said he was sure there would be interest from businesses seeking to take on the pub as a going concern.

Inside The Lamb & Flag

Inside The Lamb & Flag

Members of the party are currently running a petition calling on the government to provide emergency financial support to save Oxford’s pubs.

Read more: Looking back at the Lamb & Flag

Andrew Gant, Liberal Democrat councillor and city council opposition leader, said: “The Lamb & Flag is a historic institution in Oxford, which has served the likes of JRR Tolkien and Thomas Hardy.

Martin Siggery, former landlord of The Lamb & Flag

Martin Siggery, former landlord of The Lamb & Flag

"We will do everything we can in the city council to ensure that it has not pulled its last pint because of the pandemic.”

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Katherine Miles, Lib Dem candidate for Carfax & Jericho, added: “It’s been wonderful to see a real community response to the tragic news of the Lamb & Flag’s closing. It is absolutely essential that the long-term future of the pub is secure.

Landlady Lynne Slade calls time at the Lamb & Flag in 2005

Landlady Lynne Slade 'calls time' at the Lamb & Flag in 2005

Kathy Norman, also a Lib Dem candidate for Carfax & Jericho, added: “I’ve spent many happy times there, from my student days to more recently after work at the bookshop opposite.”

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