CAMPAIGNERS are urging people to back a movement to try and protect a much loved pub in St Denys.

Organisers are trying to get signatures from residents and users of the South Western Arms, in Adelaide Road, next to St Denys station, which suddenly closed its doors last month.

Portswood councillors have urged Southampton City Council to grant it status as an Asset of Community Value - which would protect it from redevelopment for at least six months.

The initial proposal was brought forward at a full council meeting by Cllr John Savage.

Ei Publican Partnerships, which owns the pub, confirmed to locals that it was currently closed due to the publican’s decision to cease trading due to personal reasons.

Cllr Savage said: “We need to get this pub registered to protect it from any development because it is a pub that has benefits for the whole community.

“Residents have started their own campaign to try and turn it into a community pub and we hope that it can become one.”

He added: “To see the community come together like this is fantastic.

“People want to see this great pub remain.”

People are encouraged to put their names forward to show their support by either signing a petition at the Butcher’s Hook pub, Gentleman’s Corner and Miss Ellie’s Café in Bitterne Park, or sending an email to registering support, but ensuring postcode and house numbers are included.

Cllr Savage and campaigners Carol Clark and Rich Christie will then hand in the application to the council for its consideration.

Portswood Cllr Paul O’Neill said: “The South Western Arms is a popular local pub and valued part of the community and the sudden closing of the pub was a shock to many of us in the area.”

He added: “This measure [an Asset of Community Value] is an important step to have the pub safeguarded against any possible future development that might be against the interests of the local community.”

Five years ago, the pub was crowned Daily Echo Best Local winner, beating The Victory in Hamble, The Rockstone in Southampton, the Prince Consort at Netley and The Saints at Southampton to the title.

It was also voted pub of the year by South Hampshire Camra (Campaign for Real Ale) members in 2002, 2003 and 2006.