TWO communities home to historic pubs are ‘delighted’ after the buildings were granted a protective status that could safeguard their future.

Residents near the threatened Hare and Hounds, in Lammack, Blackburn, and The Red Lion, in Black-snape, expressed their joy after Blackburn with Darwen Council decided to list each inn as an asset of community value.

The new status means the neighbourhoods will have the right to delay any potential sale in order to put in a bid to buy the building themselves.

The pubs, recently put up for sale by their owners, are the first buildings in the area to be considered as important to the community since the introduction of the Localism Act in 2011.

The Act introduced new powers for individuals and communities to take over services and sites with public value and infuence planning and development.

A petition to prevent the sale of the Hare and Hounds by Enterprise Inns gained over 300 signatures after worries were raised that the area, home to 2,000 residents, could be left without a pub, or convenient community base. Residents feared the inn, the only surviving former Duttons Brewery establishment in the country, would be turned into housing, or another commercial venture.

Peter Howells, of Barker Lane, one resident behind the campaign, said: “This is really good news because, if it had been closed, the main heart of the community would have been des- troyed.

“Now we have won this battle, we hope we will be able to ensure its future under a new owner who supports our aims.”

Beardwood and Lammack councillor Mike Lee said: “I think it’s good the comm- unity got together to encourage the council to do this.”

Martyn Skipper, who helped gain the status for the Red Lion, which closed in April after it was sold by Marstons to an indepen-dent owner, said: “We are delighted the council has recognised the importance of pubs in general, and The Red Lion in particular to the life of rural communities. Should the new owner show intentions to reopen the pub, they would be given the full support of the community.”

Mike Kershaw, of East Lancashire CAMRA, said: “We commend the council for realising the vital importance of this pub to the life of the community.”