VILLAGERS are being given the chance to help save a threatened pub.

Kim Gottlieb, the owner of The Dove Inn at Micheldever Station, wants to redevelop the pub for housing and open a new community facility in a coachhouse on the site.

But the pub on Andover Road has been nominated as an ‘asset of community value’ by Micheldever Parish Council and agreed by Winchester City Council.

The designation means that third parties have six months to organise a bid for the building.

First the city council must receive an expression of intent to bid by July 25 to postpone the sale for six months.

Micheldever Parish Council chairman William Helen said: “We would like it to continue as a community facility. If a community group wanted to do something with it then we would support them. We don’t have feedback at the moment as to what the public think. We have to sit on the fence as a supporting organisation and not a directing organisation.”

Mr Helen said parishioners had been alerted to the potential loss of the pub in a newsletter. It was too early to say if a public meeting would be held.

Cllr Gottlieb, the man who derailed the city council’s first attempt to redevelop the Silver Hill area in 2016 and defected from the Conservatives to the Liberal Democrats, issued a statement.

He said: “I put the Dove on the market last summer when the present tenants, Charlie and Joanna Lechowski, told me that they sadly had to leave. Charlie and Joanna are both brilliantly hardworking and have made the very beat of the Dove, but the current set up is really not viable.”

Cllr Gottlieb, who lives in nearby East Stratton, added: “Apart from the industry-wide difficulties that have seen roughly a quarter of the country’s pubs – mostly independent traders – closing down in the last decade, the location is not strong enough to attract sufficient custom from afar and the 200-year old building needs substantial investment to put it into a good condition.

“Because there has been no serious interest received in the last year, I now plan to redevelop the whole site so that the coach house becomes a bar/café and public facility, while the main house is converted into flats.

“The coach house is nearly as large as the existing bars/restaurant, but by keeping the offering modest but interesting and of a size that will need to draw only from the local community, we will hopefully create something that is far more sustainable in the long term. The conversion of the main building will help pay for it all and allow us to do additional work such as installing a new sewage treatment plant. I hope to have a planning application submitted within the next three months.