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Victory for Norwich pub in tables and chairs battle with opticians

PUBLISHED: 06:30 22 November 2011 | UPDATED: 10:04 22 November 2011

The Murderers on Timberhill.

The Murderers on Timberhill.

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2011

A Norwich city centre pub which has been embroiled in a long-running dispute with a neighbouring opticians has won the right to retain its outside tables and chairs.

And The Murderers, in Timberhill, will no longer have to abide by a previous condition imposed by Norwich City Council, which had insisted the pub owners had to ensure people outside were seated.

That condition had been imposed in February, after Moss and Leakey opticians, opposite the pub, said the tables and chairs created a nuisance, with noisy drinkers intimidating staff and customers.

With that licence expiring, pub landlord Phil Cutter had submitted a fresh application for eight tables and 24 chairs to the city council’s regulatory committee.

The committee heard yesterday how David Foskett, who manages Moss and Leakey opticians, had used CCTV and tape recordings to capture what he saw as breaches of the conditions attached to the previous licence.

He provided 155 pictures to the committee and Mr Foskett said he had captured images for a month to show what he, his staff and customers had to endure each day.

He said: “People start getting inebriated and get a bit louder. We have that building up over the course of a day, with people standing outside.
“These people get noisy. Their language falls apart and it is not just me, it’s my customers as well, who feel it is an intimidating atmosphere.

“You only need three people outside and it can make your afternoon an absolute nightmare.”

His solicitor Juan Lopez said the previous conditions were brought in because the tables and chairs had created a nuisance to the optician and the council would become a “mockery” if it granted a licence now, given the extent of evidence of breaches his client had amassed showed the situation was now worse than ever.

But the Murderers won support from a string of other business bosses in Timberhill, who said they thought the pub and its tables and chairs drew people to the area, boosting trade.

Brian Hardie, solicitor for The Murderers, said every effort was made to comply with the conditions, but that it was very difficult for staff to persuade all customers to sit down.

He added: “This is a personal crusade by Mr Foskett and continues to be his bete noire.”

After close to an hour of deliberations, the committee agreed to grant the licence, with statutory conditions and a condition that tables and chairs not be placed near doors.

They noted there had been breaches of the existing licence, but said they did not feel the day to day noise created by people drinking outside the pub constituted a nuisance.

Speaking afterwards, landlord Mr Cutter said: “I am ecstatic. I think the right decision has been made and it vindicates what we have been saying and doing.
“We try very hard to do the best we can and the complaints have been based on perception rather than on the actual facts.

“It proves that just because people are outside the pub having fun, it doesn’t mean those people are a nuisance.”

Mr Foskett said afterwards: “I am very disappointed. I cannot understand why this opportunity has not been taken. We have shown what we believe is adequate evidence to the committee and the decision is inexplicable.”

• Do you think the right decision was made? Write to Evening News Letters, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or email eveningnewsletters@archant.co.uk

33 comments

  • The pub was originally the "Gardeners" and gained its grizzly alternative when the landlady`s daughter was murdered by her husband in 1895. I think. There are several framed news items & photos in the pub relating the whole series of events. great pub. Bit expensive for a pensioner like me. I can always use a CAMRA voucher in the Bell for a cheap pint first, then move on to the Gardeners for an enjoyable one!

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Saturday, November 26, 2011

  • Good to see. It's not like the opticians was there first! Mr. Foskett's attitude seems to be terrible. But then: I already knew that, having visited his shop once! Perhaps he should invest in some double glazing, and a sense of humour.

    Report this comment

    Mike

    Wednesday, November 23, 2011

  • The Murderers is a really freindly and well run pub that has been the victim of what I peceive as bullying by the Opticians using their financial might to try and force the council to take action. I have never seen any violence or witnessed any intimidating behaviour at this pub and I have been a regular over the past 12 years. For once, the council have made the right decision, unfortunately some of their decisions have meant that other pubs have had to close their doors.

    Report this comment

    Crazy

    Tuesday, November 22, 2011

  • @macmillan7382 it is also called the Gardeners Arms (the righthand side of it). Maybe you should go to specsavers.

    Report this comment

    Whiley Boy

    Thursday, November 24, 2011

  • Well done Norwich City Council for making what I consider the correct decision. A chink of sanity in an increasingly mad world.

    Report this comment

    Dennis Kemp

    Tuesday, November 22, 2011

  • The Opticians can not be very busy if they have time to take all those Pictures ! Councillors at last showing some common sense--It would have been a mokery if Mr Foskett had got his way. Well done Phil and Staff--a super well run Pub that Norwich can be proud of.

    Report this comment

    Orson Carter

    Tuesday, November 22, 2011

  • I'm positively thrilled at this news. I couldn't be in more support of the pub, and cannot believe that matters had reached this level. What I do wonder is why Mr Foskett decided to submit evidence that showed patrons of the pub at night, when his business is closed. It's certainly not detracting from trade - not unless he's open at 9pm anyway. The mere fact these images were submitted are proof that this is nothing more than a grudge match. Now, if only he could explain why his CCTV camera was pointed elsewhere instead of at his business, especially since he informed the council upon it's installation its main focus would be on his own property and not used to spy elsewhere. Clearly this is not the case, and now perhaps the tables should be turned and Mr Foskett's actions be examined with a fine toothed comb, just as Mr Cutter's has over the last few years.

    Report this comment

    Daxtron

    Tuesday, November 22, 2011

  • Chebram, you cannot have gone to the Bell if you`re still alive.

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Wednesday, November 23, 2011

  • So, having read the story, it seems Mr Foskett has used his business' CCTV to documentspy on the customers of the business next door. He is not the police or the council and surely therefore has no right to be recording anything other than the very front of his property for security purposes. Perhaps the council could look into why he is infringing the privacy rights of individuals who I'm sure would not give agreement to being filmed.

    Report this comment

    DT

    Thursday, November 24, 2011

  • Moss & Leakey. Opticians?? I thought they were flat roof specialists.

    Report this comment

    rooboy

    Tuesday, November 22, 2011

  • Try again. Been chloroformed once more. The history of why the Gardeners Arms was nicknamed The "Murderers" is outlined in some framed pictures & press cuttings in the pub. Apparently, the landlady`s daughter was murdered by her husband in 1895. (I think).

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Sunday, November 27, 2011

  • Tom Jeffries.... and why won't you be going back to Leakey Moss ?..Due to this story, his lack of Normality, the threatening behaviour of the Gardeners arms customers or simply because Mr Foskett obviously can't see for himself how unreasonable he has been ?

    Report this comment

    CanarySid

    Wednesday, November 23, 2011

  • The actual facts of the case are that EVERY trader in Timberhill, except Moss and Leakey, supported the pub's tables and chairs. At the hearing, trader after trader after trader spoke up and gave their support to the pub. But there is one issue that remains and leaves a nasty taste in the throat - what right did Moss and Leakey have to use a hidden camera pointed at customers sitting outside the pub? I was at the hearing and I applaud the city council for the very fair way they conducted the proceedings and did not get caught up in the smokescreen that the Moss and Leakey people were trying so hard to create. Justice was seen to be done!

    Report this comment

    Mel Lacey

    Tuesday, November 22, 2011

  • Norwich Corporation not as short-sighted as the opticians try to make out with their intrusive lens peering at people having a leisurely drink. Good to keep Timberhill vibrant and thronged with people enjoying themselves. Must try to keep pubs like the Murderers going; Norwich can't afford to lose another one but one fewer opticians wouldn't be noticed, even by those with a lack of vision. A street ful of opticians would be a dreary place and bring tears to my eyes.

    Report this comment

    JCW

    Tuesday, November 22, 2011

  • Raising a glass to The Murderers.....and I know where I'm not buying my next pair of glasses!

    Report this comment

    Simon

    Tuesday, November 22, 2011

  • Good to see that common sense has won the day.I think that someone should brew a special beer to celebrate.A beer called Foskett's Folly! This guy is totally obsessive,and his constant picture taking is a borderline invasion of privacy.The pub has been there for a lot longer than him,and will be there long after he's gone.If he's not happy about it,there are plenty of empty shop units around the city that he could move to.Although he would no doubt still find something to complain about,like the customers next door are making a noise nuisance because they are stirring their tea too loudly.He would probably demand that everyone drank out of polystyrene cups.....

    Report this comment

    Nexus_6

    Tuesday, November 22, 2011

  • Ethered? History of the murder which gave the Gardeners its nick-name is told in a number of framed news items etc in the pub.

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Saturday, November 26, 2011

  • tom jefferies@ I reccomend Dipple and Conway.an independant company in Norwich of many years standing

    Report this comment

    Albert Cooper

    Tuesday, November 22, 2011

  • All that this has done has generated bad press for Mr Foskett. All his own fault really. Cheers to The Gardeners'!

    Report this comment

    Whiley Boy

    Tuesday, November 22, 2011

  • I bought my last pair of specs there. Shan't be going back. I suspect this will be very damaging to M&L's trade. Shame, because they are one of the few independent opticians in the city.

    Report this comment

    Tom Jeffries

    Tuesday, November 22, 2011

  • Why are people calling it the gardeners, when it's the murderers Pub! Maybe some people need to go to the opticians and buy some of his spectacles!!

    Report this comment

    macmillan7382

    Wednesday, November 23, 2011

  • It should have never have gone this far in the first place. Why oh why didn't the City Council have some common sense in the first place.

    Report this comment

    NchNthMan

    Tuesday, November 22, 2011

  • Fantastic victory for commonsense. This pub is one of the finest real ale pubs in the city centre and to put ludacris restrictions upon it, such as patrons having a chat outside would dent trade. Sounds like Mr Foskett needs to loosen up a bit. I wonder, did Mr Foskett have warning signs up that people were being recorded on camera??? Maybe have a pint to wind down after work, will make him more relaxed, there's a lovely pub across the street from him. ;o)

    Report this comment

    Whiley Boy

    Tuesday, November 22, 2011

  • David Foskett you silly, silly man. A brillant case study in poor business acumen.

    Report this comment

    AE

    Wednesday, November 23, 2011

  • Dear Moss and Leakey, Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

    Report this comment

    robotsthatcare

    Tuesday, November 22, 2011

  • I`ve sent 3 messages mentioning the historical material on display in this super pub. All disappeared.

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Sunday, November 27, 2011

  • Moss must grow on their static brains. Perhaps they`re Leakey elsewhere, providing the requisite moisture? The Gardeners` Arms is a superb pub and Mr. Cutter has supported many great initiatives (eg Norwich, City of Ale) to the benefit of not just himself. Provides good beer, too. Consistently. Mr. Foskett is myopic. Glass distinction?

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Tuesday, November 22, 2011

  • Bah Humbug - Mr Foskett has to listen to people having a good time! Miserable old git!

    Report this comment

    IT Man

    Tuesday, November 22, 2011

  • The Murderers is a well run pub and one I visit from time to time. Have never seen anything which I would say was remotely intimidating. Mr Foskett must have an extremely nervous disposition.

    Report this comment

    Brian the Snail

    Tuesday, November 22, 2011

  • I went to the Bell Inn by mistake, clearly I should have gone to Specsavers :p

    Report this comment

    banned user

    Tuesday, November 22, 2011

  • @macmillan7382. Take a look at the pub sign next time you're passing. Just one site that gives some background on the two names http:www.telegraph.co.uksponsoredfoodanddrinktop-100-famous-pubs8645613The-Gardeners-ArmsThe-Murderers-Norwich.html

    Report this comment

    galjanie overseas

    Saturday, November 26, 2011

  • A victory for commomsense,,The Pub has been there for generatuions and the Opticians for none,

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    Albert Cooper

    Tuesday, November 22, 2011

  • Looks like we will need to raise a glass, rather than a pair of glasses to the decision!

    Report this comment

    NigelS

    Tuesday, November 22, 2011

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