A VILLAGE pub near York is facing an uncertain future after residents lost their battle to buy it for the community.

A ‘community benefit society’ set up to ‘save’ the Lord Nelson in Nether Poppleton says it has been outbid by another party, and it has no idea what their plans are for the pub.

Owners EI Publican Partnerships said it could not comment on the buyer’s plans or pass on their details, adding:“As part of our on-going business, we do from time to time identify a pub that may no longer have a future in our estate. We discussed the sale of the Lord Nelson with the local community group over a number of months but couldn’t agree on a deal.

“We have now accepted an offer for the pub from another party and the sale is proceeding.”

The Press reported last year how residents were concerned for the future of the pub in Main Street, which had been an inn for centuries, after the firm said it was considering selling it.

Locals got it declared an Asset of Community Value, giving them a six months stay of execution on the sale and began to formulate plans to buy it outright on behalf of the community.

More than 100 people turned up to a packed meeting last June, after which the ‘community benefit society’ was set up, and a ‘share offer’ was later launched, inviting people to pledge to buy shares at £1 a time to raise money to buy it.

Society vice-chairman Alan Park said it engaged in positive discussions with EI, but it would not entertain any offer that did not realise the full value of both the pub and the development potential of land behind it and refused offers for the pub alone.

He said the society agreed terms with another party for a joint venture, agreeing terms for money to come back into the pub from the sale of any houses on the land to help refurbish the pub but the society could not meet EI’s terms.

“We have no idea who the other party is and what their plans are for the pub. The pub is still an asset of community value and any change of use application would likely be refused,” he said, adding that there were rumours it had been bought by a villager wishing to retain and refurbish it and, if so, they had the society’s best wishes.