A HISTORIC pump house could be saved from demolition after a deal was signed giving campaigners an option to buy it.

Developer Hills had wanted to knock down the pump house in Rowhedge to build 20 more homes on its Wharf Development site.

It was originally built in 1903 and experts say it is now the only historic building left between High Street and the homes at the new development.

But following a packed public meeting at the village hall, Rowhedge Heritage Trust has negotiated a three-month option to purchase the building which would save it from being flattened.

The building would cost about £120,000 and so far £40,000 has been set aside to cover the cost of buying it.

But trust says it stills needs to raise around another £100,000 to meet the cost of other fees as well as purchasing the pump house.

The trust called the meeting to work out the level of support in the village for purchasing the pump house to use as a community heritage centre and to ask for help from residents to operate it.

Trust secretary Keith Phillips said: “We had lots of good feedback, we had a good show of hands from people who support what we want to do.

“Lots of others said they would be willing to lend a hand and we have sent an outline application to the Heritage Lottery Fund ahead of a full application.”

If bought, the building will be used as a place to showcase the village’s fishing, ship-building and yacht racing history, while also being a base from which children can enjoy sports including canoeing, sailing and fishing.

Mr Phillips said: “The trust was formed in 2004 and we have a collection of archives relating to the history of the village so we want to display them but we also want it to be somewhere for the community to be able to use.

“We went in there the other week and it’s in a pretty good condition.

“There are some things which need to be looked at like a some missing roof slates but it’s in good nick considering it was built in 1903.”

A small group has been set-up to look into funding, planning and managing all the legal aspects of entering into a commitment to buy the building.