A city landlord has become embroiled in a furious row with a major pub chain after being given just two weeks' notice to hand over the keys.

Tony Dibbens took over Gibraltar Gardens, in Heigham Street, on January 10 this year as it was his late mother's favourite pub during visits to the city.

However, the dream has become something of a nightmare after pub company Stonegate served Mr Dibbens and assistant manager Liam Reynolds notice to vacate the premises by November 17.

Norwich Evening News: Gibraltar Gardens, located in Heigham StreetGibraltar Gardens, located in Heigham Street (Image: Newsquest)
While the pair concede they won't be able to continue trading, they are fighting to stay in their homes.

Mr Dibbens said: "We were told on November 3 that they were shutting us down because the agreement was no longer viable.

"This isn't just a pub, this is our home, where we live."

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Mr Reynolds added: "I live here with my fiance and my two children.

Norwich Evening News: Liam Reynolds, left and Tony Dibbens, right said they will stop trading at the pub, but will not leave their homeLiam Reynolds, left and Tony Dibbens, right said they will stop trading at the pub, but will not leave their home (Image: Newsquest)
"They're making us homeless with just two weeks' notice - it's not enough time to get anything done.

"You can't even pack your bags in that time, let alone try and run the business in the meantime."

Stonegate Pub Partners has listed the pub's availability at a guide rent of £807 per week.

A spokeswoman said: "Mr Dibbens occupied the Gibraltar Gardens on a temporary tenancy agreement which requires two-week written notice by either party. 

"Notice has now been served and we look to appoint new tenants and reopen the business as soon as possible.

"We confirm the pub is not for sale but is available on a five-year fixed-term tenancy arrangement."

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Mr Dibbens said the news has taken a toll on his health, but is determined to stay at the site for as long as possible.

"I'm so upset and my health has drastically declined since this happened," he said.

Norwich Evening News: Mr Dibbens received news he was being evicted on November 3Mr Dibbens received news he was being evicted on November 3 (Image: Newsquest)
"But I've got 20 years' experience as a property manager and I know there's no way on this Earth they can do this.

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"They can shut the business down but they can't move us out.

"We're going to stay here - we won't be able to trade but we'll be staying."

History of the Gibraltar Gardens

Established in 1470 alongside the River Wensum, the building only became a public house in the early 1700s.

Norwich Evening News: Gibraltar Gardens pictured in 1961Gibraltar Gardens pictured in 1961 (Image: Archant)

It was expanded and enlarged in 1550 and again in 1600, being made a grade II listed building in 1954.

More recently, it closed from the end of 1999 to March 2000 for further extensive renovations.

The couple who took over the pub in December 2019, Jason and Julia Carter, left in January 2023 with Mrs Carter saying "it seems pubs are a dying trade" as they competed with cheaper prices at supermarkets and chains such as Wetherspoons.