A PUB saved from developers by villagers has accused a national hotel chain of trying to ‘bully’ it into changing the name of its company.

The Bay Horse in Roughlee near Barrowford was in danger of being turned into housing until 40 villagers raised £500,000 to buy it and restore it.

After months of renovations by volunteers plans were in place to reopen the Blacko Bar Road hostelry in three weeks.

Villager Chris Swarbrick and his family took over the tenancy of the pub setting up the company ‘BH Village Inns’.

But they then received a letter from lawyers threatening legal action over the firm’s name as Village Trading, a chain of 29 hotels in cities across Britain with an annual turnover of £185million, claimed it infringed their trademark

After last minute discussions, the case was dropped this week but Mr Swarbrick and the villagers behind the pub rescue are still angry at the ‘threatening behaviour’ of the hospitality giant.

Businessman Paul Dawson, who led the fight to save the pub, said: “We are very relieved this ridiculous legal action has been dropped.

“This big business was trying to use European Union regulations to bully a traditional English pub.

“Village Hotels were using a sledgehammer to crack a nut. Who is going to confuse a small village inn with a multi-million pound hotel group? Is it likely that any hotel guests will switch to our pub?

“The letter was very threatening, warning of injunctions, court action to recover damages, and an order for payment of legal costs.”

Mr Swarbrick said: “Thank goodness they have dropped the case.

“This was the last thing we needed while we are concentrating on getting everything just right for opening night.

“We had to set up a company, so hit on the name ‘BH Village Inns’ – though there is only one inn. We may have a restaurant and bar, but there is no accommodation for visitors, so I don’t see how we can be taking trade away from a big hotel group.”

No one from Village Trading wished to comment.

Campaigner Robert Carson, 66, said: “You’d have to be stark staring bonkers to confuse a little village pub with a chain of luxury hotels

“Are these killjoys going to sue every village hall in the country?”