THE condition of a much-loved Nether Wallop pub, which has been vacant for three years, is being investigated by Test Valley Borough Council after becoming a “disgraceful eyesore”.

One resident expressed their concerns regarding The Five Bells pub, saying: “The building has fallen further and further into disrepair and is now a complete eyesore.”

The Nether Wallop resident added: “TVBC is aware of the village’s concerns over the loss of the pub and one has to ask why the council has done nothing, as far as is known, to make the owner improve the state of the property.”

Test Valley borough councillor and planning and building portfolio holder Cllr Phil Bundy said: “The council has received a complaint about the condition of the building and we are currently investigating.”

The Grade II listed pub was bought by another village resident, Graham Horder, who took over in December 2010.

According to a minutes of a meeting made by Nether Wallop Parish Council on September 4, 2013, the pub was made a community asset in April that year.

The owner then closed The Five Bells three months later.

The resident, who wishes to remain anonymous, said: “The fabric of the pub is rotting away and the fire service had to be called on one occasion due to internal water leakage.

“There is blistering on the outer walls, loose tiles on the roof, the windows are rotten and dangerous gas cannisters and old beer barrels are lying around, with the garden now overgrown to a height of about six feet.

“Rats have been seen scurrying around the car park.”

The resident said that Nether Wallop villagers have pledged money to buy the property and that in June, they increased their offer, above the owner’s asking price, to no avail.

According to Historic England “there is no direct legal obligation on the owner of a heritage asset to carry out repairs”.

This paper has tried to contact the pub’s owner but received no response as we went to print.