Hopes have been dashed that the much loved Olde Red Lion pub will open again - after Royal Borough council leader Simon Dudley said he had been told it was sold.

Public anger greeted the news that the landlord at the pub in Oakley Green Road, Oakley Green, Marc Hunter, had been given just 10 days to leave by the Punch Brewery.

He had built it up over a two year period into a popular hub and his dismissal led to a number of events including a christening celebration being cancelled.

The Royal Borough has been a firm supporter of residents attempts to buy up popular local pubs themselves - but an attempt by Red Lion supporters to do this fell through when they could not raise the amount asked.

The pub is now closed and this week Cllr Dudley expressed his regret but revealed he had had received a surprise approach from the brewery, which he put down to the public criticism they had faced.

He said: “They have reached out to me and said they wanted to meet. That’s ‘people power for you’.

“I hope to put some clear markers down.”

Any developer who did have plans to turn the pub into homes or offices would have to face the fact that it is a grade two listed building that would have to be retained in its present shape and form as much as possible.

Cllr Dudley said he also hopes to meet the developers who have acquired it.

He said: “I want to meet them and get some sort of understanding of what they are planning. Of course ideally I would like it to remain a pub.”

The saga has been a sad one. Two years ago Mr Hunter (pictured) was given notice to leave after Punch said the pub had been sold but on that occasion the company backed down among an ‘error in communication.’ But this time it seems there is no mistake.