PLANS to reopen a bar at the Alresford Recreation Centre have been given a boost.

The bar at the ARC closed suddenly last month and a campaign is underway to reverse the decision.

The new chairman of Alresford Town Council, Ernie Jeffs, says that he has been in talks with a firm to take it over.

The bar is a popular part of the centre and is regularly used by sports clubs, including Alresford Rugby Club.

Cllr Jeffs said: “I want to reopen the bar. I agreed to the closure as it was not viable in the long term. I want to reopen it again with a company running it.”

He said that there is a company in the background that has taken a keen interest in taking it over.

Cllr Jeffs added: “It is a case of watch this space it may come to nothing but I hope it will come to something. I am going to try and get that bar open again, I will do my best but there is a long way to go.”

Robin Atkins, former chairman of the town council, believes that any company running the bar must have the necessary experience.

Mr Atkins said: “My view is very specific, the people that run it must have experience in running a company like a bar or pub. They must be experienced in running and managing more than one unit.”

A statement on the issue on the Alresford Town Council website said: “The council had been attempting to find someone to take on the lease of the bar but without success. The football club are understood to have considered it but declined to proceed.”

The statement added: “It is with much sadness that New Alresford Town Council is announcing with immediate effect the closure of the Alresford Recreation Centre, known affectionately to its users as the ‘ARC Bar facility’.

“The bar has been managed by a number of groups since its inception and had suffered a number of financial failures before coming under the management of the town council.”

“The council has spent considerable time evaluating the ARC Bar’s future and how a possible closure would impact the community; but as local government funding comes under further pressure, they felt unable to continue to operate the facility. The council is very grateful to each member of staff at the ARC, and appreciates their loyalty through this time of uncertainty.”

After announcing the closure, council chairman Lisa Griffiths resigned just two minutes into a public meeting. Four other town councillors have also since resigned, Sam Kerr-Smiley, Keith Barrett, Ben Gower and Annie Saunders and the council is currently trying to co-opt new councillors.