The owner of a village pub has confirmed he is in the process of selling the business.
Greene King has said the sale of the Grey Horse, in Mill Lane, Whitburn, is expected to be complete later this month.
The firm declined to say who is in line to become the new owner of the building, which dates back to 1905, with a pub on the site since as far back as 1840, according to local historians.
However, it is understood the new owner the Co-Op, as rumoured.
Customers have been told the final day of business is expected to be Thursday.
A spokesperson for Greene King said: “We took the difficult decision several months ago to put the Grey Horse up for sale.
We will follow what happens next to the pub closely and we hope the views of the community will be taken into consideration.Phil Leaf
“A sale has now been agreed in principle and is expected to complete later this month.
“It’s never an easy decision to sell a pub and we’d like to thank all the customers who visited over the years.”
The venue has already been removed from the company’s website and no closure date has been given by Greene King.
The firm also runs the New Derby in Roker Baths Road and The Rosedene in Queen Alexandra Road, Sunderland, The Fountain in Highfield Road, The Bamburgh, South Shields, The Story Book in Boldon and The Prince of Wales in Calf Close Lane, Jarrow.
Peter Scott, 51, who has lived in Whitburn all his life and works as a team leader at Nissan, said there had been a lack of investment in the pub in the years since Greene King took it on from Scottish and Newcastle.
“It’s been absolute disaster for that pub,” he said.
“They have run it down.
“Every landlord that’s come in has been promised the kitchen would be refurbished and other things would be done, and it’s never come to fruition.
“They’ve basically left it and people have come in with great intensions, but in the end they’ve not been given the money to do anything.
“It will be a massive lose to the village because there’s a lot of people, a spectrum, who only go in the Jolly Sailor, only go to the club or just the Grey Horse, but there is a circle of people who go to all three. “I’m proud that it has a history which can be traced back to 1840 and it’s survived until now. “Based on other pubs I’ve seen, it could be financially viable for someone with the vision.”
Phil Leaf is chairman of the Whitburn Neighbourhood Forum, which has held two meetings in the last week to gather people’s views about what they would like to see happen to the Whitburn Lodge, which shut six years ago and is yet to be redeveloped.
Read more: What next for Whitburn Lodge? Village asked to pool its thoughts on closed pub’s future
Mr Leaf said: “We will follow what happens next to the pub closely and we hope the views of the community will be taken into consideration.”
He added a planning application will be needed if its new owners hope to use the site for anything other than a pub.