A CAMPAIGN group fighting to reopen a Marston pub say public support ‘remains strong’ despite plans to turn it into an education centre and cafe.

The Save Our Somerset (SOS) group was created in 2014 when Somerset House first closed and has been battling ever since to see the pints flow once more from the Marston Road venue.

Oxford-based charity The Wilaya Trust announced last month, however, it was in negotiations with the owner of Somerset House to take on the lease for the building to create a community hub.

A statement by SOS said it was aware of at least three pub companies who have made offers on the lease and want to re-open The Somerset but were turned down.

It added: “Community support for The Somerset to re-open as a pub remains strong and continues to grow.”

Last year, the campaign group held two ‘pop-up-pub’ events attended by 200 people to show there was an appetite for a pub in the area.

A Save Our Somerset online petition created last year has also received more than 650 signatures.

Local pub landlords have also supported the campaign.

Chris Manners of the Dodo Pub Company, who run two popular pubs, the Rusty Bicycle in East Oxford and the Rickety Press in Jericho, said: “I think the building and its location would certainly be viable to trade as a pub.”

Planning consultant Dale Ingram said due to recent change in planning law the building was not just protected as an Asset of Community Value but by its' status as a pub.

This means any applicant trying to change use of building would have to prove there was no viability in keeping it as a pub.

She said: “There is clear evidence to present to Oxford’s planners that pub companies and the local community alike believe, in the right hands, The Somerset could be a flourishing local pub once again.”

Keep up with the campaign via the Save Our Somerset Facebook page.