About 20 people have invested money in a bid to purchase the freehold of the Black Buoy pub, in Wivenhoe, which closed about six weeks ago.

The consortium, made up of local people and investors, is negotiating with owner Punch Taverns over the sale.

Spokesman John Moores said the group was close to having enough money to complete the deal.

A Punch Taverns spokeswoman said the firm wanted to reopen the pub in the New Year while continuing efforts to find a buyer.
The 200-year-old pub closed in October but has been on the market for several months.

Mr Moores said: "To my mind, the British pub is a great institution. We've had some fantastic nights down there and want it to be there for the next 200 years.

"We are close but need one or two more investors."

Mr Moores, a salesman who lives in Wivenhoe, said about 90% of the investors were from the town.

The idea to buy the pub was first mooted at a meeting about three months ago and quickly gained momentum, he said.

If a deal can be agreed, Mr Moores said the consortium would look for a tenant to run the pub as a bar and restaurant.

Penny Kraft, Wivenhoe mayor, said: "Having met my husband at the Black Buoy, I would love to see it reopened. I wish the group every success."