A POPULAR village pub in North Cornwall which has been closed for 15 months amid controversial attempts to build houses on the site is to open its doors again tomorrow.
Local couple James Caslake and Nikki Unger have bought the Bullers Arms at Marhamchurch and are in the final throes of refurbishing it in time to welcome all the locals to the pulling of the first pint at noon on Sunday.
The new landlords were invited to a village coffee morning on Wednesday when they outlined their plans for the pub and received enthusiastic support from residents.
"It is the first time I have walked into a room and got a round of applause," said Mr Caslake, an associate partner with auction firm Kivells.
The first pint will be pulled by former landlord Bill Kneebone, who built up the pub's popularity in the 1970s and 1980s when it was the centre of village life and drew customers from a wide area for its food and music.
A flyer has gone out inviting everyone in the village to the pub, and one who says she will be there is health campaigner Candy Baker, who said: "They are a lovely enthusiastic couple, and the village is 100 per cent behind them."
Villagers have been embroiled in a battle during the past year or so with Peter Rudman, who wanted to retain the bar area as a small pub but develop the rest of the site for housing. His plans were turned down by members of Cornwall Council's east area planning committee in August after which he said he would be going to appeal.
Marhamchurch Parish Council, who were against the development, said they were going to try and register the pub as a community asset which would restrict an owner's ability to develop it as anything else.
Mr Rudman has retained an area of the car park which is being leased to the new pub owners.
They have refurbished the toilets, redecorated the bar and laid new carpets.
They will then make a start on changing the 14 guest bedrooms to 8 and redecorating the function room.
Mr Caslake said his partner had previous experience in the licensed trade.