THE Downley Donkey pub closed its doors for the final time on Sunday night, to the disappointment of villagers and its landlord.
Jim Anderson, 49, had only been at the helm of the Plomer Green Lane pub for a matter of weeks when he was ordered to shut it by Enterprise Inns, ahead of its expected transformation into a Morrisons Local store.
Mr Anderson said he had a long-term vision for the pub which included converting a garage into a stable to bring donkeys back to The Donkey.
He said: “We were forced to close on Sunday night. I’m gutted, especially with just one week’s notice given to us.
“It’s a community pub, which we like, we have good people up here, we had no trouble and everyone seemed pleased with what we were doing.
“But the response from the community has been unbelievable and if someone was able to buy it, we would come back in a heartbeat.”
Morrisons submitted a planning application to Wycombe District Council on Thursday asking for permission to build a single storey extension and make alterations to the existing building.
Downley Parish Council has also submitted an application to WDC to have The Donkey, as well as other key buildings in the village, registered as a Community Asset.
If the application is successful, the council would be able to match any bid for the property – but DPC chairman Cllr Barry Gay, who only found out about Morrisons’ plans last week, believes it is probably too late.
He said: “I think the horse has probably bolted here, we are very late on the scene as we simply knew nothing about it. Had we known anything we could have reacted a lot sooner.
“Feelings are running high in the village, everywhere I go people stop me and ask what we can do to stop it and we are doing all we can.
“But if it is to go through, which it probably is, we need to embrace Morrisons and get them to work with us to ensure it is a village store.”