MOMENTUM is gathering behind a campaign to keep a local pub in the community after it suddenly shut.

Staff and regulars at the Dyke Pub and Kitchen on Dyke Road, Hove, were shocked a week ago when the pub closed without notice and later reopened as a furniture shop.

The pub, owned by Pub and Kitchen Ltd, closed on August 4 and now regulars have started moves to have a say in the future of the pub. The campaign group Save the Brighton Dyke gathered to rally outside the pub on Sunday afternoon. The group has attracted nearly 400 members to their Facebook group calling for the pub to be kept open for the community.

Mother of three, Poll Jordan, a regular at the pub, said: “There was no hint of it closing at all. It seemed very sudden. It was a pub which welcomed a huge number of people,

“The fact there’s been such a response to its closure indicates the sense of community there is around here.We want to try and find a way of making the pub a community asset.”

Locals fear the large building will be sold off to housing developers. The group is seeking legal advice to attempt to list the pub as an asset of community value - allowing them a chance to bid for the pub if it is sold.

According to one staff member, who wanted to remain anonymous, the 20 staff were given no notice the pub would close. They said: “The first I heard the pub was closed was on Facebook - it was very shocking having no notice I has lost my job.

“I’m not really surprised it went down but to have been given notice would have been far more appropriate.”The employee who was on a zero hour contract said the owner had paid the money they were owed and promised an extra week of pay.”

Owner Martin Webb, who ran the pub for seven years, said the pub was struggling to make a profit over the last 18 months. He said: “We’ve done absolutely everything we can to keep the pub going. I’ve thrown the book at it and I’ve used my whole 30 years of experience to try and make it work but it still hasn’t turned around. If you went there on a Saturday evening it was a ghost town - that was the problem.

“We found an alternative use that is going really well. I’m sure the locals would say it’s the heart of the community but there’s lot of local pubs around there.They aren’t the ones that personally have to fork out £5,000 a month to keep it going.”