A VILLAGE pub which has been closed for five years and seemingly destined to be demolished for housing has been brought back to life by a couple.

The Cross Keys in Kinnerley, near Oswestry, has undergone a massive refurbishment, while the new owners, Les Jones, and his wife Norma, have just moved in.

It is hoped the doors will open once again in early December.

It has taken builder Les and Norma more than two-and-a-half years to reach the position where the pub can once again become a focal point of the community.

Their efforts have already been rewarded with locals saying they will be happy to support the pub when it reopens, and it has also won an award from Oswestry Civic Society for the standard of refurbishment.

“The pub was shut five years ago after a small fire and the owner at the time submitted plans for housing,” said Les.

“It dragged on for 12 months and the community was up in arms at the prospect of losing the pub altogether – it’s the only one in the village.

“The locals got together and decided to buy it, but couldn’t raise the money, so I stepped in to help. We didn’t want to lose the pub because it’s an important part of the village, but I must admit we didn’t fully realise the extent of the work that needed doing.

“It’s a very sound building, part of it is Grade ll-Listed, but the whole place had to be refurbished right through. Electrics, walls, ceilings, it had to be re-roofed, new drains, plumbing and the cellar.

“It was really run down and had to be stripped right back.”

The lease was handled by the Oswestry branch of law firm, Lanyon Bowdler, and Tania McGee, associate solicitor who acted for Mr and Mrs Jones, said: “The Cross Keys has been extensively refurbished to an exceptionally high standard by our client, which has won the praise of Oswestry Civic Society.

“It’s wonderful to see such a well-known pub restaurant being brought back to life in this way for the good of the community and I hope it enjoys the great success it deserves.

“I was glad to be able to assist Les and Norma to bring this transaction to a successful conclusion.”

Mr Jones said the future was looking bright for the pub. He added: “It took us a long time but we are confident we have the people in place who will make a success of it.

“It’s going to be a food pub, and the kitchen has had to be completely re-done.

“It’s a tremendous amount of work but the village is growing and it needs a pub, which will be a real asset,” he said.