CAMPAIGNERS have received a boost in their bid to secure the long-term future of a Hampshire pub that closed earlier this year.

Supporters of the King Rufus at Eling Hill, Eling, have successfully applied to have the popular watering hole re-registered as an Asset of Community Value (ACV).

The King Rufus, which closed in March and had recently been sold, was first listed as an ACV in 2015.

New Forest District Council has now approved a request from the King Rufus Eling Supporters group to renew the pub’s ACV status.

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It means the building is more likely to remain a pub - and less likely to be converted into a house.

The application to re-list it an ACV was supported by ward councillors David Harrison and Caroline Rackham.

Cllr Harrison said: “Pubs are disappearing at an alarming rate up and down the country. Over the years a few have been lost in Totton, including the White Swan, the Red Lion and the Village Bells, which was located directly opposite the King Rufus.

“Pubs are an essential part of what helps bind communities. It would be a tragedy if the King Rufus closed and was allowed to become another residential property.”

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Cllr Rackham described the King Rufus as an excellent venue for small-scale community events such as quiz nights and group meals.

She said it would be “very detrimental” to the area if a new use were found for the building.

However the pub’s immediate future appears to be secure.

A statement on the What Pub website says: “The pub has apparently been sold to a couple with previous pub-running experience so we hope it will reopen soon.”

The Victorian pub dates from the 1850s.

It was being run by Ray and Philippa Goold when it closed earlier this year along with every other watering hole in the country. The couple later retired and said the pub would remain shut until a new owner was found.

Other pubs are also still closed, including the Sir John Barleycorn at Cadnam.