A man who has fought to save a pub he believes is at the heart of the community is “dumbfounded” by the council’s decision to no longer list it as an asset to the community.

The Crown Pub in Shenley Road in Borehamwood is now free to be developed by owners Woodhall LLP after Hertsmere Borough Council decided it did not meet the legal requirements of the listing.

These include proving the pub furthers the social wellbeing of the local community, it is unique, local people want to save it and those nominating it can raise the money to run it.

The Crown Pub, which closed in March, was listed as an asset of community value in August.

This was the result of a nomination by spokesman of the Save The Crown group Stephen Bury, who said the pub was unique and its closure was a “great loss” to Borehamwood.

However, Woodhall LLP appealed the decision and, during a hearing on November 29, spokesman Leon Goldstein said the Crown did not provide any “unique facilities” and raising the £2.6million needed to open it as a pub was an “aspirational dream”.

Mr Bury said he was “dumbfounded” by the council’s decision to side with the landlords.

He said: “Disappointed does not cover it. Nothing has changed since the council decided the pub fitted all the requirements of an asset of community value.

“They are telling me one of the reasons the council changed its mind was that not enough people wanted to save it. I was asked for 21 signatures and provided 30. If I had known I had to provide more names I could have found hundreds more. What did they want me to do, stage a demonstration outside the appeal hearing?”

He added he was disappointed the council had taken so long after the hearing to release the decision and would try to launch an appeal.

Woodhall LLP declined to comment on the decision, or what it planned to do next.

However Councillor Harvey Cohen, who was responsible for deciding whether or not to list the pub, said he thought it would become retail space and flats.

He said: “I am very sad I had to make this decision, it hurt me.

“I feel for the community and understand the importance of pubs in village life.

"However my hands are tied by the legislation and the pub failed the tests. There was no proof of its uniqueness, that it would be missed and that it could carry on as a pub.

“The sad truth is pubs are declining across the country as people prefer to buy booze from Tesco and drink at home."

He added if the council had decided to maintain the listing and Woodhall LLP had appealed again and won it could have ended up costing council tax payers thousands of pounds.