A BID by villagers at Limpley Stoke to buy their local pub, the Hop Pole, looks to have failed.

The village parish council submitted a £218,000 bid for the 15th century pub in the summer but this was rejected by its owners, the Wellington Pub Company.

The inn is now being offered for sale on the open market by Bristol-based commercial agents Fleurets with a £325,000 price tag.

Anthony Gennard, the parish council chairman, said: "It is now their intention market the inn as a ‘pub for renovation - as a going concern, rather than a development property’.

"The asking price will, according to Wellington's usual business practices, be exclusive of VAT - a substantially increased commitment of about £65,000 on top of the headline sale figure.

"As a parish council, that means that we are beyond the limit of our available funds, and our ability to meet the renovation and repayment requirements through the Public Works Loan Board."

Mr Gennard said the current purchase price, plus a further £150,000-£200,000 needed for renovation and administrative/legal charges, puts the pub way beyond what the council could afford to pay or borrow.

It would mean a total cost to the parish council of between £540,000 and £565,000, which is beyond the £500,000 maximum amount allowed under the PWLB loans scheme.

Mr Gennard said the additional funding needed would mean the parish precept would rise by up to £50 a year per household.

He added: "It would be irresponsible of us to commit too significant a proportion of our funds to meet the repayment requirements for any lengthy period of time."