RESIDENTS who started a campaign to save the last remaining family pub in their village have had it declared an Asset of Community Value – a protected status.

Friends of the Hapton Inn launched their campaign when their beloved pub went up for auction at the beginning of September.

They put in a request to have their Accrington Road pub declared an ACV, and following the sale, the council passed the order protecting the pub.

Kevin Furber, who runs the Friends of Hapton Inn group, said: “We believe the person who has bought it wanted to turn it into a residential property.

“We’ve been trying to get an Asset of Community Value order on it which means that it’s protected against someone turning it into a place of residence.

“It’s not usually a quick process to get an ACV but within five days Hapton Parish Council had jumped on board and put in their request to Burnley Council with full support for it.

“Then we got the news on Wednesday that it had been granted. I don’t think there’s been a ACV granted that fast in England before.

“We wouldn’t have been able to gain the ACV without the amazing support from the parish council and Burnley Council.

“It’s the only remaining family pub in the village.

“It’s never been closed but it’s in jeopardy of being closed over the next week or so.

“We don’t know who the buyer is, but we want to contact him as I’m sure if he knows he can’t turn it into a residential property then he’ll want to sell.”

Kevin said the group have the finances to be able to buy it from the new owner and run it as a community, as it would be devastating to the village if it was lost. He added: “The older people who come in keep it as somewhere to socialise.

“And in terms of community value it’s the only pub with a car park that can be used for events at Christmas etc.

“It’s not just about drinking; it’s significant for the community.”

Mr Furber said over the last five years new properties have been built and those people who have bought new houses are going to be disappointed to find out there is no longer a local pub nearby.

He added: “The race is on to save the pub now before it is closed down by the new owner. Hopefully having this in place will make him want to sell.”

Hapton parish councillor, Joan Lakeland, who helped lobby for the ACV order said: “We are very pleased that we got the ACV, which means now we can work towards keeping it as a pub.

“In this area there’s nothing else – it’s the only place with a function room. Yes there’s a nice pub in the village but it’s no facilities and is very small.

“We planned a meeting on Wednesday evening to discuss the ACV, and that afternoon I received an email telling us it had been granted. It was great to see everyone celebrating the ACV declaration but this is just the first step, the process is still very much ongoing and we need to fight now to keep it as a pub.”