A CAMPAIGN group which had been trying to create Bradford’s “first community pub” has seemingly ruled out making any deal with the historic building’s new owner.

Members of the Friends of the Kings Arms Community Benefit Society worked for a year to try and save the 200-year-old pub of the same name in Highgate, Heaton, but were beaten to the property by a private developer, Sijad Bahadur.

The group, which raised more than £110,000 to try and secure the pub via a community shares scheme, then urged Bradford Council to turn down Mr Bahadur’s plans to turn the upper floor of the building, which had been listed as an Asset of Community Value (ACV), into four flats.

That application has now been withdrawn, but Mr Bahadur said it was likely to be resubmitted with a similar design.

Last month, he said he was open to the group buying or renting the bottom floor of the property for use as a pub, and he has again reiterated his willingness to enter into negotiations.

“No-one from the group has contacted me about the possibility of renting or buying the bottom floor,” he said.

“They are happy to moan and groan, but not to communicate. I would happily give them six months rent-free if they come forward with a plan. I’m trying to be positive rather than negative about this, what more can I do?”

Mr Bahadur said that if nobody came forward with any interest for the bottom floor of the pub, he may look to convert that area into flats as well to “avoid letting the space go to waste”.

Sonja McNally, chairman of the Friends group, said members had initially entered into discussions with Mr Bahadur about the possibility of selling the building on to them, but said they couldn’t afford his asking price.

She said the group had needed to secure the whole building to realise their aim of making it a “community hub for all residents” of Heaton.

Ms McNally described Mr Bahadur’s latest offer as an “empty gesture”, and said the group would oppose any re-submitted plans for a residential scheme.

She said: “I don’t think anything is going to happen, end of. He is the businessman, and he is the one who would have to organise the plan.

“We feel that when the pub signs were taken down, all hope was lost. The ACV plaque has also gone, as has the car parking and the garden area at the back.

“Having just a room on the ground floor of a building was not what we set out to do.

“We wanted the whole building to create a real community pub. This offer feels like an empty gesture, and one we don’t feel is serious.”