A GROUP of determined residents who have been battling to protect a village pub are waiting with bated breath to see if their campaign has been successful.

A consortium within Frieth is hoping to buy the currently vacant Yew Tree pub, which has served the village community for 160 years, and keep it as a going concern to stop it from undergoing a change of use.

While the pub is still on the market - and could potentially be bought for redevelopment - it seems that at least one interested party is keen to keep the pub trading.

While the deal is far from signed and sealed, the agent handling the sale told the Free Press there was still a strong chance the building would remain a pub.

It is understood another party that had been interested in developing the site for housing is no longer pursuing a purchase.

Diane Hill, a resident of Frieth, and one of the leading lights of the campaign, said: "300 people signed our petition to save our pub from being turned into houses and hopefully have it turned into a community asset so we can use it to do lots of things in the village."

She said the village was cautiously optimistic, and that it would be "a victory for the small community" if the pub remained open.

She said: "I’m so proud of the community - it’s been behind us all the way. Within 24 hours the petition had 150 signatures - now there are more than 350 - and that’s not including the pages of names in the village pharmacy.

"It just shows that, if you’ve got a good community cause, how much people rally round."

She added that the villagers still hoped to get the pub listed as a community asset.

However, the previous landlady of the pub, Carrie Tetterrall, who left it earlier this year, says she felt the community had not done enough to support the business when it was still running - and that the pub would still be safe and sound had they done so.

She said: "I think they have finally realised - we ran the pub for eight years. There’s a huge list of people who never used the pub in the first place."

She added that while there were some stalwart regulars, many seemed to go to Marlow or Henley to drink, using the Yew Tree more for occasional events such as the Christmas dinner for Frieth School.

Mrs Hill said she believed the pub would be used regularly in the future, however, and said there were times when the pub had not always kept regular hours.

She said: "The village is desperate for a consistent pub with a consistent service that meets our needs."

The petition can be found at https://councillors.wycombe.gov.uk/mgEPetitionDisplay.aspx?ID=70&RPID=29638789&HPID=29638789 and there is also a paper copy at Lane End Pharmacy