A CANALSIDE pub which closed its doors earlier this year could be close to reopening.

The Jolly Anglers in Kennetside has been the subject of a grass-roots and cross-party campaign after it closed suddenly in June when Enterprise Inns sold it. But there are signs of a deal which could see the independent West Berkshire Brewery, based at Yattendon, take it on. It already owns the Rising Sun at Stockcross.

Reading East MP Rob Wilson said: "The West Berkshire Brewery is held in high esteem in real ale circles and its expansion to Reading will do wonders for the progress of the Campaign for Real Ale. I'm delighted that this has been resolved and we have saved a great British pub from disappearing."

But Karen Baum, a co-director at the brewery, said nothing had yet been signed and although it was "hopeful" a deal was on the horizon, it was too early to comment.

Reading East Lib Dem candidate Cllr Gareth Epps added this afternoon (Monday): "Any speculation about the pub reopening is only speculation at this stage, and it would be irresponsible to say anything that could put negotiations in jeopardy.

"If it is true that Enterprise Inns have released the restrictive covenant, that is fantastic news - it means the Jolly can reopen. More than that, if there is any news, it will be a tremendous success for Newtowners and for the campaign, and possibly the first time Enterprise has willingly released a covenant anywhere in the UK."

The Chronicle has been following campaigners' efforts to reopen the pub, and scores of people returned a Save The Jolly Anglers petition printed in the paper.

They held a Halloween pub crawl around other Newtown pubs, with author John Dearing acting as tour guide. He is an authority on Reading pubs and has just released a book on the subject.