RESIDENTS in Honeystreet are asking questions about the sale of the Barge Inn, after the pub, which was once run by the community, went on the market with a guide price set at £900,000.

Some people say they are concerned for its future after a previous marketing effort to sell the pub had advertised the Barge Inn without the next-door campsite, believing that the pub is not a viable business without the camping element.

Andrew Lingard, 50, who lives on a barge on the Kennet and Avon Canal and is currently moored in nearby Horton, said: “Earlier this year the planning enforcement team visited the landlord who had advertised the barn and campsite for sale as a viable business and living accommodation, contrary to the planning consent granted, which was for two bed and breakfast rooms and public toilets to remain ancillary to the main pub. His advertisements plainly showed this contravention and when this plan was stopped, he removed the advertisement.”

No enforcement action was taken by the council against the business over the issue.

The canalside pub, popular with locals and tourists, has been through some hard times over the past four years since the departure of Adrian and June Potts, who retired after 17 years. A community group was formed to keep it going, which received a £430,000 grant from the Big Lottery’s Village SOS fund. They re-opened the pub in August 2010 but it closed it October 2012. The building and capsite are owned by Ian McIvor, who has put it on the market through specialist commercial agents Savills.

Mr Lingard added: “I have been in touch with the Big Lottery Fund who informed me that the liquidators are trying to recover the Lottery funding, which was used to buy the lease for 20 years in advance when the Barge Inn Community Project were the tenants.”

Adam Bullas, licensed leisure director at Savills, said: “The owner is considering selling the pub on its own for £550,000 and then the campsite and barn separately. So the option is to sell each one individually or as a whole site.

"The fact that the pub isn’t a viable business without the campsite is incorrect, the campsite brings in a nominal amount from what I have been told, under £10,000 a year. People who may camp there will use the pub but I have been informed it isn’t very busy.”