VILLAGERS are urging the new owners of a pub to keep it as a drinking establishment instead of turning it into a funeral parlour.
The sale of The Wheel Inn in Findern has gone through and an application could see it turned into a funeral parlour.
Martyn Ford, councillor for the area, said the new owners were being asked by previous owner Punch Taverns to keep it as a pub.
He said: “What would normally happen is that Punch would send people in and strip it out but in this instance they are not doing that - the idea being that the new people could keep it as a pub.
“Punch know that emotions are running high and have been very helpful and understanding.
“We would like to say thank you to Punch for asking the new owners to keep it open as a pub - it’s a traumatic time.
“It would be distressing for people to see funeral cars in the village.”
An application from residents for it to be listed as a community asset has been sent to South Derbyshire District Council but the sale has already gone through.
Villager Kate Horton said: “The pub was absolutely packed all weekend and the village have pulled together against its closure hugely.”
A Punch Taverns spokesman:
“We have been marketing the Wheel to let since December 2012 alongside a £150,000 refurbishment. We have also marketed the pub for sale as a freehold since July 2013 . It was a decision we did not make lightly but the pub is no longer sustainable for us as a business. Unfortunately in both cases we had very little interest and since July 2013 we have had only one offer.
“We have now exchanged contracts with the purchaser so we are contracted to sell the property. We take concerns from the local community very seriously and we have met with representatives from the community group to discuss the matter with them and made some suggestions. The pub has been sold with a licence in place but what happens now is the decision of the new owner.”