CONTROVERSIAL work on a pub has been halted.

Brighton and Hove City Council issued a building preservation notice (BPN) on the historic Dyke pub, giving it the same protections as a listed building for six months.

It comes as campaigners await a decision by Government body Historic England on whether the closed pub will be permanently listed.

Work to refit the venue in Dyke Road, Brighton, sparked protests last month and campaigners have welcomed the decision to protect the building.

They launched their campaign after the pub closed suddenly last September and reopened as a furniture shop.

Then the owner Martin Webb said he was going to reopen half the pub.

Ian Fardell, of Save the Dyke Pub, said: “We are pleased the BPN has been issued and it gives the building a chance as the owner has been making changes before he had planning permission.

“He doesn’t need to have planning permission but with a BPN he can’t take things out, like the bar.

“The BPN is just a step along the road to make sure things don’t happen that cannot be reversed.”

Mr Webb has applied for planning permission to reopen half the building as a pub with the antiques store retained in the other half of the ground floor.

The plans also include two flats above. So far more than 400 objections have been made by residents, dwarfing the 134 comments in support.

Mr Fardell said: “The plans are trying to push the community into something we do not want.”

In a Facebook post Mr Webb responded to the objections, writing: “Almost 400 people have now objected to our plan to reopen the Dyke.

“Not only are we very unlikely to get planning permission, we are also seriously reconsidering whether it is worth investing a further £50,000 in the building on a fantastic smaller pub if so many local people don’t want it and probably won’t use it.

“It would only work if the local community embraced it. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to see how that would happen.”

Mr Webb did not reply to comment.

Council officials are expected to make a decision this month on the plans.