ESSENTIAL repairs will be done to Huntingdon’s oldest pub, the Falcon, after the leaseholders met Huntingdonshire District Council’s conservation department.

ESSENTIAL repairs will be done to Huntingdon's oldest pub, the Falcon, after the leaseholders met Huntingdonshire District Council's conservation department.

The council intervened when concerns were raised over the state of the building, which suffered flooding when a water tank burst during cold weather.

Following the leak, The Hunts Post published photographs of the inside of the pub, showing the flooded cellar, mould growing on the walls and dead birds on the stairs.

At a meeting between leaseholders Punch Taverns and the conservation department last Tuesday (March 29), a schedule of repairs was agreed, aimed at drying out and ventilating the 400-year-old building to prevent rot setting in.

Louise Brown, heritage and conservation team leader at HDC, said the water had saturated fabrics and carpets in the building, creating "conditions conducive to deterioration".

She said: "When you leave conditions that are warm and wet, it creates outbreaks of dry rot. It can take a number of months to dry out the building, and in fact the slower it is done the better, as drying out old timber too fast can crack it."

Mrs Brown said that Punch Taverns would be carrying out the work, but that HDC would be monitoring the situation and visiting the Falcon regularly.

"The Falcon is an important grade II listed building and it is vital we ensure the works are carried out."

She added: "At the moment we are concerned only with improving the condition of the building.

"Structurally, it's not too bad and there is no real reason for concern."

The council had warned that, if no agreement were reached, it would carry out the works itself and bill the owners.

A full inspection of the exterior of the building is also under way, with repairs being carried out as required.

Initial discussions have also been held between the council and Punch Taverns over the long-term future of the Falcon.

The news was welcomed by campaigner Faye Linnell, who has been pushing to raise awareness of the Falcon's plight.

She wants the building saved and restored to an active role in the community, and collected more than 500 signatures on Huntingdon High Street on Saturday.

"People are becoming more aware of the state of the building. So many people came up to us on Saturday to tell us they are fully supportive of the campaign.

"It's reinforced what I was doing and makes me realise I need to keep pushing on," she said.

Mrs Linnell has already set up the next Save the Falcon event, an exhibition of the building's history in conjunction with Huntingdon and Godmanchester Civic Society on St George's Day, April 23.

INFORMATION: To find out more about the campaign, search 'Save the Falcon' on Facebook, or sign the online petition at www.petitionbuzz.com/petitions/savetfh