A NATIONAL campaign group has joined calls to save an historic former pub from the bulldozer - as a petition demanding it be retained reaches almost 2,000 signatures.

The Ferrybridge Inn, in Wyke Regis and dating back to the 1890s, is due to be knocked down and turned into a complex of 29 flats and a new pub or restaurant after planning permission was granted in 2018.

SAVE Britain’s Heritage has now made a public appeal to Illchester Estates, owners of the former pub, saying that the demolition plans are short-sighted.

They argue that the historic building could 'easily' be incorporated into the new housing development - especially given the plans actually include a replacement pub.

The group's support comes as a petition launched by local residents calling on Ilchester to retain the inn and allow the community to reopen the site as a pub reaches almost 2,000 signatures.

Marcus Binney, executive president of SAVE Britain’s Heritage said: “This is a charming building with a lot of history. Across the whole length and breadth of Britain hundreds of similar pubs have been revived and reopened and with pubs back in favour, it is no time to demolishing them.”

Ben Oakley, conservation officer at SAVE Britain’s Heritage said: “The Ferrybridge has stood the tests of time for 130 years, speaking to the rich history of this part of Dorset. With its enviable position on the South West Coast Path and a community keen to save it, reviving the Ferrybridge is just common sense.”

Read more: Petition to save 'historic eyesore' pub from demolition

Dave Taylor, on behalf of the local petition 'Act Now - Save the Ferrybridge Inn' said: “The community would like to see The Ferrybridge re-opened as a pub and accommodation for guests. It is in a prime location and there are several successful eateries close by, so the demand from visitors and residents is there. The town of Wyke now only has one pub, when it formerly had 10!"

Originally built in the 1890s, its initial role was to collect tolls from people crossing to Portland, later becoming a pub. But despite its rich history the building is not listed and can be knocked down.

Doubt had been cast over whether the development will still go ahead as planning permission - given to a London firm, Boyer, acting on behalf of Dorset landowner Ilchester Estates - was due to expire earlier this month. However, it has emerged that a change in the law could give developers extra time.