Gloucestershire pub goes under the hammer with £500K price tag
A DERELICT pub could fetch around half a million pounds at auction next week.
The Bell and Castle at Horsley has been at the centre of a row between its owner, villagers and planners for almost four years.
After he bought it in 2008, Alex Kerr and many in the Five Valleys village have been at odds over the 17th Century inn.
He sparked a storm of protest by removing tiles and taking down modern additions.
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Now it's up for auction, after Mr Kerr said in June his heart had gone out of the project because of ill health and "all the aggravation".
That was just after a government inspector granted permission to allow him to partly demolish and rebuild it, add bed and breakfast facilities and build three new houses next to it.
If the near-half acre site of the pub and three building plots doesn't approach a £575,000 guide price, he could keep the pub and sell three building plots for a guide price of £450,000.
His original plans to replace the inn with a shop, cafe and housing were opposed by many in the village.
Horsley Parish Council chairman Nick Hackett said it had offered to buy the property with a view to a scheme involving a pub, flats, a shop and business units.
"We are still very interested," he said. "We would happily reopen negotiations."
Yesterday Mr Kerr declined to comment.
The auction will be held at at Thornbury Golf Centre on Wednesday, September 12, at 7pm through agents David James and partners.