Villagers have backed their parish council borrowing £300,000 to buy, refurbish and re-open their local pub.

But Wellington Heath Parish Council, which hosted last week's crunch meeting in a packed Memorial Hall, would prefer a third party to come forward and buy the Farmer’s Arms instead of them.

The village’s sole pub has been closed since last summer.

The chairman of Wellington Heath’s parish council, Richard Hurley, who chaired the meeting said: ”Our position is we will buy the pub as a last resort, but we want a third party to come forward.

“We are not publicans and we are not used to running a pub.”

Coun Hurley said if the council ended up buying the Farmer’s Arms a tenant would have to be put in charge of the premises – something that happened when the Beauchamp Arms in Dymock became a community pub almost 15 years ago.

The money to buy and refurbish the pub would come as a loan from the Government’s Public Works Loan Board.

Approval to seek a loan will be sought from Eric Pickles MP, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, within a week or so.

If approval is granted and the loan approved, a bid for the pub could go in by late summer.

The parish council has been unable to secure any grant towards the purchase of the pub.

A total of 73 people attended the meeting, with 62 voting in favour of the council seeking Government permission to apply for a loan.

A questionnaire in February, put out as part of the village’s Parish Plan research, revealed of the 125 households that responded, three quarters were in favour of seeing the pub re-open.

Last winter, the council registered the pub as a “community asset of value” with the Government.

This put a hold of the sale of the pub to any third party and gave the parish council the right to put in a bid itself, within a time frame of six months. This will come to an end on August 4.

After then, the council will still be able to put in a bid to the building’s owners, Enterprise Inns; but third parties will be able to bid as well – the option preferred by the parish council.