A GROUP of Tiverton residents is campaigning to prevent a burnt-out town centre pub being rebuilt as houses.

Mid Devon District Council announced this week that the former Twyford Inn in Bampton Street may have to be demolished amid concerns over its safety, after a fire on April 14 destroyed the roof and first floor.

But Michelle Lovegrove, a former regular at the pub, says it is important that a pub is rebuilt on the site.

She said: “We are not trying to recreate the Twyford as it was, I must stress that. We just want to prevent this old pub being turned into flats or being left to fall down.

“Once it becomes residential, we have no chance of getting the change of use back to a commercial business.

“I will be devastated if the building is demolished, but if it isn't safe, then it has to be knocked down.

“If it is demolished, it must be rebuilt as a pub, we can't lose that from the area.”

The group hopes to have the building listed as an 'Asset of Community Value' with the local council.

On top of this, members have also set up a petition, entitled 'Save our pub - say no to development,' to prevent the building being turned into a residential development.

A Mid Devon District Council statement, released earlier this week, said: “Our building control officer has maintained regular contact with the owner of the Twyford Inn since the fire.

“We understand that the property has been inspected by the owner's structural engineers, who have confirmed the building is dangerous, and that the owner is arranging for the necessary work to be carried out.

“We have advised the owner that if the building is to be demolished, they need to provide us with a demolition notice for building control.”

Despite the building being located in a Conservation Area, demolition works to secure safety may take place without planning permission.

The statement continued: “We are advising the owner over this matter and confirming whether the current condition of the building warrants this or if planning permission is needed.

“We will continue to liaise with the owner to ascertain what their intentions are regarding the building.”