Work to save one of Norwich’s most famous buildings has stepped up a gear with scaffolding being put around the historic Britons Arms.

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The scaffolding around the 14th century building on Elm Hill began going up on Monday as part of its refurbishment.

The restoration comes after a battle to save the publicly-owned coffee house from being auctioned off by Norwich City Council was won last October in a campaign, publicised by the Eastern Daily Press and our sister newspaper the Norwich Evening News.

The Grade II-listed landmark is one of the oldest in the city and the work is being funded by English Heritage and the Norwich Preservation Trust.

Malcolm Crowder, from the Norwich Preservation Trust, said: “It is a big project.

“The city council doesn’t normally like scaffolding going up just before Christmas, but the architects got in touch with the local shops in Elm Hill and the call which came back was very supportive.

“It just shows how supportive the Elm Hill people are.”

The scaffolding will reach across the other side of the street and is expected to be in place until early next year.

It will mean window repairs can be carried out while a temporary plastic roof will be put over the thatched roof’s ancient beams.

Builders will then work inside the attic to restore beams and rethatch the roof.

The scaffolding will be completed by December 17 with thatch work starting in early January.

Mr Crowder said the main work on the site was due to begin on January 7.

The floor will be restored and a barrier will be built between the living accommodation below and the roof works above.

Repair work to the building, which has one of the last thatched roofs in the city after many were destroyed in fires in the 16th century, is estimated to cost £35,000.

The costly repair bill meant the city council decided to sell the building, but the campaign led by the building’s tenants of 35 years, sisters Gilly Mixer and Sue Skipper, collected 1,700 signatures to save the Britons Arms through the “Up In Arms” campaign.

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