THE OWNER of Baileys News in Berkeley is keeping his fingers crossed that a last-minute deal to sell the business can be finalised soon to save the community asset.

Described as a “haven” by customers, the newsagents on Market Place was feared to be close to closure in January if owner Nick Priest could not find a buyer in the coming months.

The store had been on the market for 15 months and Mr Priest had told the Gazette he would have to stop trading soon as it was no longer a viable option to keep running.

It now appears a party has come forward and offered to buy the business, but Mr Priest stressed it was not a yet a done deal.

“It’s not far enough along to be certain at this stage,” he said.

“We have only really got as far as instructing solicitors.

“I am hopeful I have found a buyer. The store will remain open in March whilst the formalities are completed.”

Mr Priest had said that he was keen to find a new owner and give a generous offer for the Berkeley shop, which employs eight people, rather than close it as he recognises its importance to the public.

Speaking to the Gazette, he said he was unwilling to give the name of the prospective buyer, or how much he was selling it for, but that he was offloading it for a “negligible” profit.

“It will be enough to pay the transaction costs,” he said.

He added that after his appeal in the paper, a lot of interested parties had come forward.

Until recently, Baileys News owned a number of newsagents in the region but the decision was taken to offload the majority of them.

The Malmesbury store was sold on Saturday, January 4 and stores in Cricklade and Stonehouse had already been sold off in September last year.

Mr Priest had earlier assured residents that the two remaining stores on Silver Street in Dursley and in Nailsworth would not be sold in the foreseeable future.