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Britons Arms in historic Elm Hill, Norwich set to be saved?

Silent protest outside the Britons Arms Coffee House and Restaurant, Elm Hill against Norwich City Council's plans to sell the building off at auction. Local resident Lorna Turner ( right ) with her placard.Photo : Steve Adams

Silent protest outside the Britons Arms Coffee House and Restaurant, Elm Hill against Norwich City Council's plans to sell the building off at auction. Local resident Lorna Turner ( right ) with her placard.Photo : Steve Adams

Archant 2011 0

The historic Britons Arms in Elm Hill, Norwich looks set to be saved at a meeting later today.

Norwich City Council has potentially brokered a unique partnership between English Heritage and the Norwich Preservation Trust to comprehensively renovate the building.

The council said this could be done without any costs being passed to Norwich council taxpayers and will also mean the building will remain part of its property portfolio.

At today’s cabinet meeting, councillors are due to consider options and Alan Waters, deputy leader and cabinet member for resources, will recommend that a grant application be submitted to English Heritage for funding to undertake structural and associated works to the property.

He will alos recommend, subject to the approval of this application, negotiations be concluded with the Norwich Preservation Trust for it to take a full repairing head lease on the property for a period not exceeding 15 years.

This favoured option will be considered alongside a number of others including sale to the tenants, transfer to a local trust, or sale in open auction.

Mr Waters said: “We have worked in collaboration with English Heritage and the Norwich Preservation Trust to try to find a way to restore this building without passing that cost onto taxpayers.

“At a time when we are consulting on savings proposals that will affect how we deliver some of our key services we need to make sure we use our citizens’ money carefully.

“The intention of a sale, or partnership with a trust, was always to get someone else to pay for the things we could not afford to do in order to protect and preserve the building and protect the commercial interests of the people of Norwich. We could not continue to subsidise this commercial operation over any other.

“This arrangement will mean that although the council will not benefit from immediate money from a sale, in the longer term, it will benefit from retaining a fully renovated heritage property as part of its portfolio.“

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