Bulldozers have moved in and demolition work on a village pub has started ahead of plans to build a new convenience store.
Lincolnshire Co-operative began knocking down The King’s Head in Morton on Monday.
The pub has been empty since it was severely damaged in what was believed to be an arson attack in 2007.
The Co-op hopes to build a shop in its place and aims to submit a planning application for the new development before Christmas.
Discussions on plans to build a convenience store in place of The King’s Head have been taking place for years.
But Morton residents were concerned to learn of rival bid by The Co-operative Food to build a store just 50ft away.
Plans to convert The Lord Nelson were revealed at a public presentation in the church hall last month.
The Co-operative Food refused to confirm whether it had any plans for the pub. But brewery Marston’s, which owns The Lord Nelson, confirmed the pub was on the market.
And commercial property developer Saxondale, based in Nottingham, said this week it was in talks to buy the property on behalf of an unnamed client.
Director Andrew Butcher said the firm was interested in the pub and could buy it in the new year.
The Lord Nelson’s current landlord John Hailey told the Mercury this week he had been in talks to buy the pub himself. He said he was disappointed to learn of the plan to sell to Saxondale instead.
But a Marston’s spokesperson said: “The tenant did join us in June knowing perfectly well that the pub was on the market.
“He was given an opportunity to buy the property, however he did not provide the necessary proof of funds by the required date.”