Details have emerged of a failed district council bid to build homes on the site of a pub which villagers are now fighting to save.
The news was revealed by Peter Mandell, who put together a bid to buy the site and restore the fire-wrecked Ye Olde Dun Cow at Cowbit and reopen it as a pub.
Mr Mandell says the district council successfully tendered to buy the site with the aim of building six to ten houses, but its offer was gazumped by a company which also intends to build homes.
The planning application from Market Homes for nine residences could go to South Holland’s planning committee as early as August 28.
Around 130 public comments opposing the homes have been made on the council’s planning portal, 350 residents have signed the village’s Save Our Pub petition and objectors to the loss of the pub include The Campaign for Real Ale.
Mr Mandell, from Moulton Seas End, is operations director for a building and civil engineering company, Peter Lind.
He put together a bid to buy the site on behalf of Peter Lind and a partner on the basis they would restore Ye Olde Dun Cow and reopen it, but the site is worth more if used for housing.
Mr Mandell says the national planning framework and local policy mean the pub site “cannot possibly qualify for a deviation from its existing use”.
He also claims the council’s offer to buy the site was above its own valuer’s assessment and council intentions to build homes there would have attracted higher offers from companies wanting to do the same.
Cowbit’s Save Our Pub campaign has asked the council to clarify its role in the sale of the pub site.
A council spokesman said: “The council did submit a bid for this land which it felt reflected its market value and was subject to the land obtaining planning permission for affordable housing. This bid was unsuccessful.
“The fact that South Holland District Council submitted a bid in no way compromises its ability to make impartial planning decisions regarding this issue.”