The lost Norwich pubs - campaigners call for extra protection to stop more vanishing in 2017
© ARCHANT NORFOLK 2009
Campaigners are today calling for the government to do more to protect pubs from being converted or demolished without planning permission.
The rallying cry comes as an Evening News investigation reveals at least 31 city pubs have closed in the past decade - with many converted into housing or new businesses.
Dozens of pubs have been protected through being listed as Asset of Community Value (ACV) - which forces the owners to go through the formal planning permission route.
But the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) says that process can be time-consuming, fraught with difficulties and only a temporary measure, with listings needing to be renewed every five years to maintain protection.
They want the government to put pubs in a class of their own so that owners must always seek planning permission before converting or demolishing a local.
Neil Bowers, pub protection officer for Norwich and Norfolk CAMRA, said: “Norwich is known as the city of ale, so what better reason to be protecting our pubs.
“Norwich has got lots of pubs that are protected by ACVs, but I would love to see something more if that protects pubs from closing.”
He said pubs which were currently on CAMRA’s radar as potentially needing protection included The Windmill in Knox Road, The Surrey Tavern, in Surrey Street, the Robin Hood in Mousehold Street, The Marsham Arms in Hevingham and The Three Horseshoes in Warham.
Of the 31 pubs which have shut in Norwich, 16 have either been converted to housing or have permission to convert. Others have become shops or restaurants.
Pub closures are a result, at least partly, of a nationwide decline in the number of drinkers going down to their local.
Martin Ward, from the Norwich and Norfolk branch of CAMRA, said: “There is a lot more to do in your leisure time than 20 years ago. Now, with the internet, people aren’t going out to do anything.
“People used to go out to the pub two or three nights a week; it was their only way to interact with the whole community.”
Another problem that comes with closures, he said, is the increasing difficulty of getting to your nearest pub, especially for those who rely on public transport.
“Some pubs are doing okay because they are still local,” he said. “But in places where there are no pubs it is difficult for people to get to their nearest pub, especially as transport rates are through the roof.”
CAMRA has successfully campaigned for dozens of pubs to be declared as assets of community value to stop or delay a change of use.
“Buildings of historical interest should be saved,” Mr Ward said.
He thinks the community should get together, put forward a bid and run it themselves. One such success story was at The Marlpit pub in Hellesdon Road.
That pub closed down in 2014 and remained empty for a year. In 2015 a campaign group got the pub listed as an asset of community value.
Lucy Galvin, founder of Friends of Marlpit, said: “As a local councillor I saw my ward (Wensum) had lost nearly all of its local pubs, until just three remained for 9,000 residents.
“Pubs are for people. They provide essential spaces for socialising for young and old. They are a hub of the community. There is room for them to diversify and offer all sorts of food, drinks and services. The old model of only selling alcohol is probably not sustainable, and people want more.”
The Marlpit pub is being restored and is likely to open later next year.
But Rose Hanison, owner of the Black Horse on Earlham Road, said: “It’s a very hard industry. A lot has changed in the last decade, costs have increased. Saving a pub depends on whether a suitable buyer can afford to keep it open and how many pubs there are in the area.”
The Norwich Evening News has, through our Love Your Local campaign, been urging people to make use of their local pubs, or risk losing them forever.
• Are you battling to stop your local from closing? Email email@example.com
The lost pubs
Thorn Tavern, 25 Ber Street, NR1 3EU
The 19th century pub closed in 2005 and is now a sushi restaurant.
Shoemaker, 40 Earlham West Centre, NR5 8AD
The Shoemaker shut in 2005 and remained derelict for years. It became a target for vandalism and fly-tipping. After it was demolished in 2012, permission was granted by Norwich City Council to develop the site into 20 apartments for UEA students.
Galley Hill, 289 Drayton Road, NR3 2PW
Plans to turn this pub into housing were denied before its closure in 2005. It was partly converted into a beauty salon but now remains empty after the business relocated.
Earl of Leicester, 238 Dereham Road, NR2 3TL
The pub was knocked down in 2005 and the land has remained derelict for more than a decade. Planning permission was granted in 2013 for 12 flats to be built on the site but work is yet to begin.
Lacon Arms, 22 Junction Road, NR3 2HP
The Lacon Arms had been running since 1922 but closed in 2006. A year later, the pub was converted into two flats.
Ferry Boat Inn, 191 King Street, NR1 2DF
The pub dates back to the 19th century and ran as the Ferry Boat Inn from 1925, becoming one of the most popular rock music venues before its closure in 2006. Permission was finally granted this year for the listed building to be redeveloped into 40 dwellings.
The Cygnet, 147 Churchill Road, NR3 4PZ
The Cygnet pub was closed for two years before finally being demolished in 2006 to make way for eight houses.
Magpie, 34 Magpie Road, NR3 1QJ
Formerly known as the Weighing Chains and the Weighing Machine in the 1800s, the Magpie was sold in 2010, four years after it closed down. This year permission has been granted to redevelop the pub into four flats with two houses to the rear.
White Cottage, 18 Penn Grove, NR3 3JL
The Victorian pub shut in 2007 when the former licensee retired. The building was demolished in the same year and in 2013 permission was granted for nine flats to be built on the site.
Queen Charlotte, 286 Dereham Road, NR2 3UU
The pub was formerly known as the Lord Nelson, then changed its name to the Artful Dodger in 1989, then the Dodgers Karaoke Café & Bar in 2001 and finally the Queen Charlotte in 2006 before it was closed down in 2008. Since 2011, it has been a community centre for the Norwich and Norfolk Muslim Association.
Bakers Arms, 66 Leonards Road, NR1 4JF
The historic pub had served drinks from the late 1800s but was sold for redevelopment in 2009. It has been converted into a three-bedroom house with four additional two-bedroom houses built around the site.
Refreshers, 1 St Giles Street, NR2 1JJ
The 19th century pub was previously known as the Raven and suffered extensive damage during the Second World War. It was refurbished in 1985 and renamed Refreshers, before closing in 2009 and reopening as Italian restaurant Paolo’s.
Duke of Norfolk, 26 Mousehold Lane, NR7 8HE
The pub was built in 1938 but was sold in 2009 and converted into Indian restaurant Rishi in 2011.
The Branford Arms, 3 Branford Road, NR3 4QD
The pub was run alongside Branford Bakery in 1895 and was known as the The Branford Arms. It closed in 2009 and permission was granted in 2013 to convert the pub into four flats with three additional two-bedroom houses built in the gardens.
The Firs, 164 Cromer Road, NR6 6XA
The Firs pub was built in 1938 opposite the Firs Stadium, the speedway venue for the Norwich Stars which attracted thousands of people every weekend. The stadium was sold for housing in 1964 and the pub was sold in 2010 to become a Tesco Express.
Canary, 107 Watling Road, NR7 9TG
Norwich City Council granted permission for the pub to be demolished in 2010 to make way for 25 affordable homes, including 20 two or three- bedroom houses and five two-bedroom flats.
The Spread Eagle, 35 Sussex Street, NR3 3DG
The pub was converted into a four-bedroom house after closing down in 2010.
Duke of Connaught, 60 Livingstone Street, NR2 4HE
The Victorian pub was destroyed in 1942 and rebuilt in 1954.
The former landlord sold the pub following an early retirement in 2011. It was demolished to make way for four one-bedroom houses.
Basement, 1 Farmers Avenue, NR1 3JX
Once described as the most contemporary bar in Norwich, the pub had been called Owens café bar in 1998, Traffik in 2007, the Blind Pig in 2008, Over De Flames in 2009 before becoming Basement in 2011. It was sold in the same year and converted into Example hair salon.
Regal, 5-7 Dereham Road, NR2 4HX
The former cinema, bingo hall and then pub closed down in 2011 and was replaced with an oriental restaurant called Merge. Merge closed this year.
Royal Oak, 122 North Walsham Road, NR6 7QQ
The pub dates back to the early 1800s and shut in 2012 to become the headquarters of a photocopying business.
Castlegates, 11–15 Timberhill, NR1 3JZ
Previously running as a restaurant until 2003, it became Castlegates pub in 2004. It is now Middleton’s Steakhouse and Grill.
The Falcon, 24 Cromer Road, NR6 6ND
The Hellesdon pub closed down in 2013 and became a Co-Op store.
The Millhouse, 12 Laundry Lane, NR7 0XE
This pub in Thorpe St Andrew closed down in 2013 and also became a Co-Op store.
Stores Café Bar, 107 Dereham Road, NR2 4HT
The pub was first licensed in 1868. It was sold in 2014 and became homecare specialists Helping Hands.
Beehive, 57 Cannerby Lane, NR7 8NF
The pub was closed in 2014 to make way for a Co-Op store which opened the following year.
Virtuoso, 29 Kett’s Hill, NR1 4EX
Previously the Kett’s Tavern, it was renamed Virtuoso in 2015 only to close down by the end of that year. This year the city council granted permission for the change of use of the pub into housing.
Perseverance, 35–37 Adelaide Street, NR2 4JD
The pub closed in 2015 and was bought that same year by the landlord of Fat Cat, on West End Street, Colin Keatley. It will be converted into a multi-purpose private function room.
Bread and Cheese, 111 Adelaide Street, NR2 4JD
The pub closed in 2015 and plans were approved by Norwich City Council that year for it to be converted into four homes.
Surrey Tavern, 44 Surrey Street, NR1 3NY
The Surrey Tavern unexpectedly closed down earlier this year and a plan has been lodged to convert it into a one-bedroom flat and a three-bedroom home.
The Owl Sanctuary, Cattle Market Street, NR1 3DY
The popular music venue and pub closed down this year. The Owl Sanctuary relocated to nearby Timber Hill, while its old home is expected to become luxury flats.