CONCERNED ale lovers fear for the future of a historic Swindon pub and hope to turn it into a protected community asset.

The Swindon and North Wiltshire CAMRA criticised the corporate owners of the Crumpled Horn in Eldene after the pub’s landlords left and it suddenly shut earlier this year.

The group hopes to meet with Nythe, Eldene and Liden Parish council to persuade members to ask for the oddly-shaped pub with a Grade II listed roof to become an asset of community value under the Localism Act.

Public affairs officer John Stooke said: “Every day in this country, 14 pubs close their doors forever and are either converted into boxy flats with the requisite terrace on the car park or demolished altogether like the Rodbourne Arms, the Queensfield, the Worthington, the Wheatsheaf and the Cock Robin.

“The one thing that unites all of these pubs is that they are owned by vast property companies which were misguidedly set up under Margaret Thatcher’s beer orders that she designed to break the monopoly of the big breweries.

“Heineken bought the Crumpled Horn along with 1,850 other pubs in a deal with Punch Taverns.

"These large companies, often owned or financed from overseas, buy and sell our heritage without a thought for tradition or the livelihoods and often the dreams of the people who daily strive to try to make these fantastic assets a success.

He said: “Their business model is to force landlords to buy product through them at inflated prices and charge high rents which are steeply increased if the publican does well. Landlords end up working 18-hour days to simply to fill the coffers of these property conglomerates until they get fed up and throw in the towel.

“If too many landlords quit, they simply cash in on the site value - heads they win, tails they don’t lose.

“I’ve no clue what Heineken paid for the Crumpled Horn but if the freehold was sold to a serious independent landlord at anywhere near that value, as a pub, that would virtually guarantee its survival for all time - but don’t hold your breath.”

Heineken Group’s Star Pubs and Bars team is seeking new landlords to reopen the pub.

A spokesman said it was looking for a creative operator with a strong work ethic and a love of the community.

Annual rent for the pub costs £18,000 and ingoing costs are estimated to be between £11,185 and £11,531, while the pub’s annual turnover is an estimated £247,872.