A SPIRITED 'save our pub' campaign has been launched to ensure the future of Kendal's last remaining riverside hostelry.

Residents have set in motion a plan to buy The Bridge on Stramongate through a community share scheme which would see it re-opened for the benefit of local people.

In order to do this, and ensure that the unoccupied building remains as a public house, the campaigners must get it listed as an asset of community value.

If they succeed, the community will have the first option to buy the building provided it is not purchased by another party before the decision goes through.

The Bridge was put up for sale by Ei Publican Partnerships in early January but no sale has yet been agreed despite the deadline for offers having passed.

Kendal Town Council agreed on Monday night to recommend to South Lakeland District Council that the pub be listed as an asset of community value and this could be rubber-stamped at a meeting in March.

Campaigners Amy Williams and Gwen Harrison made the application to the town council saying that if the Kendal community was given the opportunity to buy the pub then the project would help bring people together "and could create all sorts of possibilities for delivering social good."

"Though there are many pubs in Kendal, The Bridge is the only one with a beer garden on the river. This is particularly important in a town whose beautiful and important river is grossly under-used," they said in their application

In making their case, the group cited the need to keep The Bridge open in the face of the nationwide trend in pub closures.

CAMRA estimated that, in 2017, 21 pubs were closing down every week.

The group also listed a number of pubs in the Kendal area that had closed down and been turned into flats, including the Cock and Dolphin, the Wheatsheaf, Kent Tavern and the Woolpack.

Marilyn Molloy, Pub Preservation Officer for CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) Westmorland, said that she fully endorses the residents' groups wish to keep The Bridge open as a traditional pub.

"This hostelry is an asset to the town and has the potential, given the closure of many other historic licensed premises, to be a fine example of Kendal's past for both visitors and locals alike," she said. "When a group like this takes over a pub they are usually very focussed on making sure it is at the heart of community activity."

A spokesperson from Ei Publican Partnerships, current owners of The Bridge, said: "As part of our on-going business, we do from time to time identify a pub that may no longer have a long-term future in our estate.

"After careful consideration, the decision was made to sell The Bridge and it is now being openly marketed."