A crowdfunded bid to save a derelict pub from the clutches of Burger King and turn it into a craft beer pub has taken a major step forward after a formal agreement was reached with days to spare.

The Bison Beer shop in East Street has led a campaign to transform the former Mariner pub and won £100,000 worth of investment from craft beer fans through on online campaign.

But after raising the money, the deal has been delayed by protracted negotiations, in part caused by the post-referendum economy.

If the formal agreement had taken any longer to be finalised the money it would have broken the deadline and funds would have been returned to investors.

The campaign to open The Bison Arms was launched after The Argus revealed Burger King hoped to open a restaurant on the seafront site.

Led by Bison Beer co-owners Jack Cregan and Nick Vardy, and Bottom’s Rest pub owner Simon Duddington, investors were told of the news via email this afternoon [Friday].

A statement read: “We are absolutely delighted to announce that a formal agreement has been reached after much discussion and negotiation.

“Heads of Terms have been signed that reflect a deal we have worked very hard to formulate these past few weeks.

“We are very well aware that the process has been more protracted than expected which has led to an understandable sense of unease in certain quarters so to get here feels like a huge milestone in this epic project.”

“To provide some insight into partial reasons for the slow going, uncertainty around the UK's macro-economic climate as a result of the EU Referendum led to a change of perspective on the part of the landlord regarding commitment to a pre-signed future lease.

“As a result it was necessary for us to seek alternative assurances on a subsequent lease after the remainder of the current expires.

“The outcome was a successful negotiation on an insurance policy to protect the business in the unlikely scenario that the landlord not honour the protection outlined in the Landlord Tenant Act.

“With this reduced risk safeguarding our occupation of the building, it is now finally possible to proceed, so here we go!”

The team will now have to finalise the shares with crowdfunding partner Seedrs, instruct solicitors to finalise the lease, create a schedule of works and preparation with council and residents, and shape the design development.

Food partner 64 Degrees, widely regarded as Brighton’s best restaurant, will lead the design of the restaurant section.

Investors will get rewards, such as the chance to brew their own beer, with approximately 90 per cent of the investment coming from people in Brighton and Hove.