NERVE agent decontamination work at The Mill pub is now complete and the site has been returned to its owners.

Following extensive cleaning and testing by specialist teams, Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) has confirmed that the pub is now safe and can be reopened to the public after some necessary refurbishment and maintenance work over the summer.

A Defra spokesman said: "The thorough work to decontaminate The Mill pub in Salisbury has been successfully completed and we have handed the site back to Wiltshire Council, who have in turn passed it back to the owners to begin refurbishment.

"As with other sites in the South Wiltshire area affected by the incidents in March and June, government scientists have carefully examined the clean-up work and are satisfied that the pub is safe to return to public use.

"This is the sixth site to be handed back as part of the ongoing decontamination operation in the area, and it is great news that The Mill will be enjoyed by both Salisbury residents and visitors once again."

Alistair Cunningham, chairman of the South Wiltshire Recovery Coordinating Group, said: “We’re delighted that The Mill has been handed back following the clean-up by specialist teams, and that it is now safe to be returned to its owners and refurbished ready for normal use.

“We look forward to the reopening of this popular city centre pub and seeing local people and visitors to the city enjoying what it has to offer; particularly its wonderful riverside setting.

“This is a positive step forward and will help the city in its recovery. Salisbury is getting back to normal even though it continues to be in an unprecedented situation. Local residents and visitors have not been deterred and they have shown remarkable resilience over the past few months.”

Andrea Greenwood, operations manager for the Mill pub, said: “It’s good to get the pub back and we look forward to it being business as usual again at the heart of the Salisbury community.

“This has been a difficult few months for all of us in the area but we are pleased by this news and will now assess the extent of refurbishment work to be undertaken to get the pub back to its best.

“This is about more than just one pub and our thoughts are very much with everyone affected by events since March. It’s too soon to give a reopening date but we are looking to the future and hope to be able to welcome the community back through our doors before Christmas.”