A derelict former pub is the final “eyesore” preventing the full regeneration of the St Augustine’s area, according to a residents’ group.

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The former Rose Inn is one of Norwich’s oldest pubs, dating back to the 14th century, but has been left empty since a photographic studio moved out around six years ago.

The reasons for it lying derelict and even the identity of the building’s owners are a mystery, said Stuart McLaren, secretary of the St Augustine’s Community Together Residents’ Association, which wants to see the building transformed to complete the area’s new look.

“It’s an eyesore really, particularly when you look at how St Augustine’s has been improved with the gyratory system,” he said. “The first thing people see as they drive north is the boarded-up building.

“It’s such a shame to see it standing empty and no prospect of anything being done with it.”

Mr McLaren said the residents’ association did not know who owned the building or why it had been left unoccupied for so long, but were keen to trace the owner to discuss its future.

“The residents don’t have any plans for it, as it’s not our building, but we do have aspirations,” he said.

“It could be turned into a cafe – a lot of smaller traders feel they need something like that to bring people to the area and draw people in.

“They are all hoping for more footfall and to get more energy into the area.”

A spokesman for Norwich City Council said it was not aware of the owner of the building, and that it had no power to intervene unless the building were to become a public danger.

She added that it could be considered for the 2013 buildings at risk register compiled by the council, in which case officers would make efforts to trace the owners to discuss the building’s condition.

The city’s heritage watchdog, the Norwich Society, do not have the building on their list of buildings of interest.

In recent years, the St Augustine’s area of the city has undergone a transformation, with a new one-way traffic system and pedestrianised area.

“There used to be a lot of boarded up shops around here, but now the old Rose Inn is the last major one,” said Mr McLaren.

“In the 19th and 20th century, the Rose Yard area was one of the biggest of the Norwich yards, with tenement buildings and factories, so there is a lot of history in that area”.

Do you know who owns the old Rose Inn building? Call reporter Mark Shields on 01603 772423.

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