A plea to save a village pub from being bulldozed by turning it into a listed building has been rejected – and the “only realistic hope” of stopping the demolition now is if a community group buys it.

The former Waggon and Horses pub in Copthall Lane, Chalfont St Peter, was served with a notice for demolition on Valentine’s Day by Gerrards Cross Homes Ltd.

In a desperate bid to save the building, which is believed to date back to at least the 1820s, Chalfont St Peter Parish Council asked Historic England to consider listing it – but their request has been turned down.

From 1893 to 1949, the pub’s landlord was Ebenezer Windsor, who is believed to be the country's longest continually serving landlord in the same premises.

His children were born in the pub, including his son, Thomas Windsor, who tragically lost his life at the Battle of the Somme during the First World War, and is commemorated as one of the fallen on the Chalfont St Peter War Memorial.

Despite the history of the pub, which was originally a cottage, Historic England - which protects some of the most important historic landmarks in the country – says it does not meet the strict criteria for listing.

In their report, Historic England said: “The former Waggon and Horses Public House, although of local interest as a cottage dating to around the early C19 which was converted to a beer house in the mid-C19, is not recommended for listing.

“Externally, the early-C19 building has been significantly altered and extended from the latter half of the C19 onwards, and these modifications have negatively affected its historic character.

“The building's association with the landlord Ebenezer Windsor and his family is of local rather than national interest.

“Within a national context the former Waggon and Horses Public House, Chalfont St Peter, lacks the special architectural and historic interest required to qualify for listing.”

Chalfont St Peter parish council said it was “regrettable” that their application has been turned down – and said the “only realistic hope left” is if a community group rallies to buy it, so it can be listed by Chiltern District Council as a community asset.

The pub was listed in the Chalfont St Peter parish council neighbourhood plan as a heritage asset.

Some neighbours living near the pub have objected to the plans. Kathy Evans, who lives in Hillfield Road, said it has “provided a social centre” for Chalfont Common for a number of years.

She added: “The building is of considerable historic significance and has been a landmark for well over 150 years. I understand that it is listed as having Heritage status according to Neighbourhood Plan document and its loss would be detrimental to the character of Chalfont St Peter.

“Chalfont St Peter has few such buildings compared with Chalfont Giles and this one looks especially charming from the recreational areas across the A413 and from the approach to Chalfont St Peter from Chalfont St Giles.

“We should not allow the few heritage buildings that are left, that allow the character of the village to be retained, be demolished.”