Supporters of an Aldershot pub which has been put up for sale are celebrating after it received protection from redevelopment.

The Royal Staff has achieved asset of community value (ACV) status after an application by customers worried it would be sold for housing.

The status, granted by Rushmoor Borough Council, means anyone wanting to change the use of the pub would first have to secure permission from the council.

It also stalls any sale of the pub in Mount Pleasant Road for six months, to allow the community to raise funds for an offer.

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There was further possible good news on Monday (May 22) as the Royal Staff’s owner, Fuller’s, revealed that the pub could remain open for business.

A spokesman for the brewery said: “We are aware of the ACV and are delighted to be in negotiations with a purchaser who wants to keep The Royal Staff as a pub.”

The SOS (Save Our Staff) campaign group set up by customers hailed the ACV as an "important first step" towards ensuring the future of The Royal Staff as a pub.

A statement from SOS said: “This is a huge victory for our campaign and for the community, who have fought hard to ensure the council was in no doubt about the strength of feeling.

“An enormous debt of gratitude is due to the people of Mount Pleasant, Windmill, Waterloo and Holly roads, who have shown they truly are a community and one that needs a pub.”

SOS also praised the support it received from Aldershot Civic Society, Here for Rushmoor, Historic Aldershot and the Surrey Hants Borders branch of CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale).

CAMRA had made an earlier application for ACV status for The Royal Staff, which was rejected by the borough council on a technicality following objections from Fuller’s.

SOS claimed Fuller’s had also contested its bid by submitting a lengthy list of objections.

“The reason Fuller’s wants to sell the pub is not that it is unprofitable,” SOS said.

“Their corporate strategy is to move away from small community pubs and into large town centre pubs, where margins are higher and profit per square metre is greater.

“This demonstrates that they are happy to turn their backs on the communities and pubs on which they have built their wealth over the years.

“Their strategy is based on corporate greed and short-term profit over the long-term viability of their industry and the communities that it serves."

Kevin Travers, pubs officer for Surrey Hants Borders CAMRA, said: “It’s great that RBC has remained true to its excellent pub protection policies and, despite pressure from Fuller’s, has approved the ACV application.

“This demonstrates what a strong community asset the Royal Staff is and I hope it helps to secure the future of this community pub for the people of Aldershot.”

“Clearly, if Fullers sell the pub as a going concern to someone committed to running a pub for the community, that would be fantastic.”