A PUB in North Warnborough, which was gutted in a suspected arson attack, could be bought by a local council.

The Cabinet at Hart District Council is to look at options for the future of The Swan Inn, in Hook Road, which could include a compulsory purchase order.

The order is considered a last resort for local authorities, which want to buy property without the consent of the owner, who is often compensated.

The Grade II-listed building suffered extensive damage to its roof and interior after an arson attack in September 2010. It was closed at the time of the fire due to a lack of custom. Nobody has been brought to justice for the fire.

As reported in The Gazette, Hart District Council has spent more than £50,000 in erecting scaffolding and protective covering to the pub to protect it from the elements.

The action was taken last year after officers found it difficult to track down the owners of the building. The Wellington Pub Company owned it when the fire took place, but then claimed it no longer did.

Hart officers will prepare a paper for the Cabinet meeting in October to look at possible options for the ownership of the pub.

The item has appeared on the Cabinet’s work programme for the coming months.

Last year, Daryl Phillips, now joint chief executive of the district council, said that any compulsory purchase order would include a certificate for minimum compensation.

In a report, he wrote: “This means that the owner would only get compensation for the value of the building as repaired, not for any development value.”