THE owner of a pub which controversially shut down has revealed plans for two townhouses on the site.
The Dyke Pub and Kitchen, in Dyke Road, Brighton, suddenly closed its doors to punters in September last year provoking a community campaign to reopen it.
Now owner Martin Webb has revealed plans to build two townhouses in the beer garden and to reopen half the pub.
Mr Webb said: “One way or another The Dyke Pub will be reopen - so that’s good news for the community.
“After 30 years in the business the problem I thought was the pub was too big for where it is.
“The new pub will be a reasonable size with more atmosphere, which will make it a popular pub.”
The plans include keeping the antiques store Emporium Treasure and Trash -which he opened after the pub closed - in the other half of the building.
Mr Webb said the plans will be submitted to Brighton and Hove City Council next month, but he is open to selling the pub to the community if they can raise £1.6 million to buy the site.
He added: “We have been speaking to the Dyke Pub Preservation Society (DPPS) and if they want to come up with the £1.6 million, then we’re very happy to sell it to them.
“Personally after running the pub for eight years I think to keep the whole pub open is risky and I think they will face the same problem.”
The DPPS was set up to buy the freehold of the entire property and said it would rise to the challenge of finding the money needed to keep the pub and garden permanently in the hands of the community.
DPPS chairman Paul (Woody) Woodason said: “What we have in our favour is that were not in it to make a huge profit but provide a service for the community.
“If the community buys the freehold that guarantees the survival of the pub for the community forever.”
The group is planning to make a mortgage application and is waiting for the result of an independent valuation of the property, which was bought by Mr Webb for £900,000 but he insists he has spent £300,000 doing it up.
The new plans come after top Tory city councillor Geoffrey Theobald called on Mr Webb to do the “decent thing” and sell the pub to the community for a fair price.
Last year punters and staff were shocked after the The Dyke Pub suddenly closed with the owner citing lack of footfall and strained profit margins. Residents reacted by setting up campaign group Save the Dyke Pub which successfully campaigned for it to be listed as an asset of community value (ACV), which gives the community six months to place the first bid on any future sale of the building.