CAMPAIGNERS have demanded a “more reasonable timetable” to allow them to save a historic pump house from demolition.

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.

Last month, the Rowhedge Heritage Trust negotiated a three month option to purchase the building, which would save it from being flattened.

It wants to use the building as a heritage centre and public facility.

But the trust has now discovered it would be expected to purchase the building in full by mid September at a cost of £120,000.

So far £40,000 has been raised and the 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.

Trust secretary Keith Phillips said: “This would have been a tight schedule in a straightforward building sale, but quite impossible in this case, where even the boundary has not been agreed with Hills, and much more planning is needed before formal and convincing funding applications can be made.”

He added: “Hills has indicated that if the sale to the trust went ahead, they would submit a revised plan of 19 units and the Pump House would be saved.

“We hope continued public support to save the Pump House, and for the viable community use proposed by the trust, may persuade Hills to accept a more reasonable timetable with which to complete the sale.

“In the meantime, in order to prepare for any eventuality, the trust is exploring funding sources, a valuation and condition survey, support from ward councillors, and continuing to be open to negotiate with Hills.”

Last week Hills submitted amended plans for the application, which would instead see 19 homes built and the pump house protected.

The Gazette attempted to contacted Hills but did not receive a response at the time of going to press.