VILLAGERS determined to save their local pub have lodged a formal offer to buy it and run it as a community asset.

The Henry Jenkins Inn at Kirkby Malzeard, near Ripon, has been closed since 2011 and has been the subject of a long-running campaign by locals to secure its future.

Plans to demolish the 250-year-old pub and build homes on the site was unanimously rejected by Harrogate Borough Council’s planning committee in February after more than 90 letters of objection and a 150-signature petition.

In July, it was listed as an Asset of Community Value under the 2011 Localism Act.

Now a newly formed community group, the Henry Jenkins Community Co-op (HJCC), has made a fully-funded offer to owner, David Fielder.

Group spokesman, Richard Sadler, said: “Mr Fielder has already said he would be prepared to consider a community bid. We hope he will seriously consider this as a genuine offer, made in good faith.”

The group has secured a £2,500 bursary grant from the Plunkett Foundation, the charity that allocates Government funding and provides expertise on community buyouts. It is also eligible for up to £100,000 in grants and loans – but it is hoped most of the purchase money will be raised through community shares.

Volunteers from the group are in the process of carrying out an opinion survey of Kirkby Malzeard and surrounding parishes to gauge support for proposals for the regeneration of the pub as a bistro, coffee shop and real ale bar with bed and breakfast accommodation.

“There really seems to be an appetite for the idea of putting something back for the community,” said Mr Sadler.

“We’ve recently lost the sub post office, bed & breakfast accommodation, the tea room – although this still opens occasionally – and the Drovers pub just up the road in Dallowgill.

“For many people the plans to demolish the Henry Jenkins right in the centre of the village were a step too far. "

"This was a much-loved pub and eating place and we believe with the right investment it can be revitalised – and that should make a real difference to the feel and atmosphere of the whole village.”

The Henry Jenkins is the last of several pubs in North Yorkshire named after a celebrated super-centenarian whose body is buried at Bolton-on-Swale, near Richmond.