A GROUP working to save their village pub is "fairly optimistic" it will be able to raise £550k to put in a bid to buy it.

The Black Dog Inn, the only pub in Chilmark, closed on October 20 after owner Robert Jones applied for permission to build two houses in the beer garden.

Former pub manager James Cole, 42, told the Journal that the pub closed because it "wasn't making any money".

But 'Save the Black Dog Inn', a working party of residents, is hopeful it will be able to keep the pub alive by raising enough money to buy it and have it run by the community.

Mr Jones put the pub, which is an asset of community value, on the market for £550k in June but excluded some of the car park land.

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

Salisbury Journal: The Black Dog Inn was the only community hub in Chilmark.The Black Dog Inn was the only community hub in Chilmark. (Image: Google Maps)

Chair Natalie Surtees said things are "looking very promising" and hopes to receive a grant of up to £200k from the Plunkett Foundation.

Yet a further £300k investment would be needed from villagers in the "affluent" area, with a population of less than 500, to enter a reasonable bid.

"It's our only amenity in the village so if we lose that we lose our community hub, but we're fairly optimistic," Natalie said.

Roughly 192 households were surveyed on October 14 about the Black Dog Inn's future as an initial step in the grant application.

54 per cent of responses came from Chilmark and a further 22 per cent came from villages within three miles.

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Around 91 per cent of respondents thought it was "important or very important" to keep the Black Dog Inn as a thriving pub with the main reason being because of the essential part it plays as a social hub.

65 per cent of people said they would invest some money into the pub.

The working group is now planning to start the process of applying for the Plunkett Foundation grant.

It has been working with nearby community-owned pubs, such as the Plough Inn in Longparish.

Natalie added: "We remain a team of passionate villagers and would welcome any help in keeping the Black Dog Inn a pub."