THE only pub in Chilmark is closing and the manager hopes that one day villagers will 'get the pub they wanted'.

The Black Dog Inn will bid farewell to customers when it closes its doors for the foreseeable future on Friday night, October 20.

Owner Robert Jones bought the pub, which was granted Asset of Community Value status on July 17, in December 2019 but put it on the market for £550k in June.

James Cole, 42, has managed the pub since May 2020 but said Mr Jones is closing the pub because "it doesn't make any money" and he's been given two months to leave.

Mr Cole, who has 15 years' experience in the industry, said trade dropped by "around 50 per cent" when owner Robert Jones stopped paying for a roadside advertisement on the A303.

Salisbury Journal: The Black Dog Inn reduced its opening hours due to a fall in trade.The Black Dog Inn reduced its opening hours due to a fall in trade. (Image: Google Maps)

Day-to-day running of the pub was Mr Cole's responsibility but he claims Mr Jones offered him little help in the three years he had been manager.

"I feel like I have done the best I could but ultimately it wasn't good enough. It's a shame because it feels like home for me but I can't do it on my own," he added.

Mr Jones submitted a planning application proposing to build two houses in the pub's beer garden in August but it was met with strong objection from villagers and subsequently withdrawn.

Salisbury Journal: The proposed site plan for housing at the Black Dog Inn.The proposed site plan for housing at the Black Dog Inn. (Image: Wiltshire Council)

Chilmark Parish Council said the Grade II listed pub, which sits in a conservation area, "makes a positive contribution to the special interest and inherent historic character of the village".

Helen Jacobs commented: "The pub is a vital part of the local village community and has been run very successfully in the past."

A working party of residents, led by Natalie Surtees, was formed to raise enough money to make a bid and attempt to save the pub.

The group has until January 24, 2024, to put forward a bid to buy The Black Dog but Mr Jones is able to refuse it.

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The Black Dog will sell the last of its alcohol stock on Friday night, October 20, where Mr Cole will say his final goodbye to Chilmark.

He said: "I’m sorry I couldn’t make your pub work for you, I did my best.

"I wish the pub the very best for the future and hope one day the village gets the pub they wanted."

Chilmark Parish Council Chair Sir Richard Packer said: "The Black Dog has been an important part of Chilmark village life for many decades. That is why the Parish Council recently asked, successfully, for it to be formally designated as an asset of Community value.

"Its closing is a blow though we recognise the financial pressures under which pubs now operate.

"A group of villagers is urgently addressing whether a means can be found to secure a viable future for the pub as a pub."

Robert Jones was approached numerous times but the Journal could not contact him.