THE battle is on to save the Red Lion for the people of Baydon.
A group of residents want to make the village’s only watering hole, dating back to 1715, a community-run project like the Tally Ho! in Hungerford Newtown.
In 2012, the Tally Ho! village pub was sold to would-be developers by brewery owner Wadworths but planning permission to turn it into homes was refused.
After a convoluted battle, a villagers’ consortium bought it back and reopened it as a thriving community pub, which it remains to this day.
The Red Lion is right at the heart of Baydon, on Ermin Street, opposite the green and next to the village stores and post office.
It has a bar, dining room and accommodation with planning permission to expand the public areas and to upgrade the existing toilets.
But it is already on the market and villagers fear it is in real danger of closing and being sold for housing.
Devizes MP Claire Perry said: “Yet another rural pub is under threat and yet another village will potentially lose its heart.
“But the Save The Baydon Lion Team mean business and I’m delighted to support their campaign.”
The privately-owned pub is still open for business but villagers fear for the future after part of the car park was sold off for housing.
In just over a month, the group of Baydon villagers has:
* formed the Save Baydon Lion Team with the objective of transforming the Red Lion into a community asset run by the community, for the community
* registered the Red Lion as an Asset of Community Value
* designed a campaign website
* opened a bank account and established the Red Lion Community Pub Limited
* carried out a leaflet drop and email shot to all Baydon villagers, core supporters and potential investors.
Team chairman Colin Newbould said: “We have support from a rapidly growing number of Baydon villagers and are about to do another leaflet drop, closely followed by a door-to-door campaign, to understand exactly what the village would like the Red Lion, as a community pub and asset, to be.
“The aim is to hold a village meeting in early April to highlight to villagers what the team has achieved in such a short amount of time, what needs to be done and how they can help.”
Meanwhile, anyone who would like to register their interest in supporting the Save The Baydon Lion campaign, with practical help and advice or with a view to potentially investing in the Red Lion Community Pub Limited, should visit www.savebaydonlion.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr Newbould vowed: “We’re determined to make Baydon’s Red Lion a roaring success.”