May 26 2013 Latest news:
Thursday, June 21, 2012
The people of Norwich and Evening News readers were thanked as work began on the restoration of an historic building.
The battle to save the publicly owned Britons Arms coffee house from being auctioned off by Norwich City Council was finally won in October last year, after thousands of people joined a campaign, publicised by the Evening News and Eastern Daily Press.
The Grade 11 listed, landmark 15th century building is one of the oldest in the city and is being saved for future generations with work funded by a unique partnership between English Heritage and the Norwich Preservation Trust, brought about by the campaign.
For the building’s tenants, sisters Sue Skipper, 61 and Gilly Mixer, 58, seeing the work begin brings a mixture of excitement and relief.
“I am very excited, we have a crack team working on it now and I cannot tell you how much better it is to see the work being done knowing it will stay in the hands of the people of Norwich rather than worrying about finding a suitable buyer,” said Ms Skipper.
The campaign to save the building, found on historic Elm Hill, was called Up In Arms.
Ms Skipper added: “The Evening News And Eastern Daily Press were really instrumental, we could not have done it without help from the press.
“It was really your readers and the people of Norwich that helped turn it around, we got 1,700 signatures on the petition, within six weeks.”
The sisters - who have opened the building for heritage open days and visits by the public over the last 35 years, as well as running it as a restaurant - say trade has picked up and they hope that in 21 years, when the Norwich Preservation Trust’s lease runs out, the city council see it as a valuable asset.