Doubts over former pub reopening as city centre boozer

No 12 in Farmer's Avenue which is up for sale

No 12 in Farmer's Avenue which is up for sale - Credit: Sophie Wyllie

Pub enthusiasts want a former boozer to be brought back to its former glory but fear the chances are slim as trading conditions continue to bite.

Number 12, in Farmer's Avenue, Norwich, closed in 2018 after being put up for sale by chain Enterprise Inns in 2017.

It was bought in January 2019 by Thurston Estates and was given outline planning permission in March 2020 by Norwich City Council to be converted into a hotel with six boutique-style bedrooms and a suite with a bar area.

No work was done and the freehold business is up for sale for £495,000 with the opportunity for seven bedrooms.

Richard Dixon, pubs protection manager of the Norwich branch of CAMRA

Richard Dixon, pubs protection manager of the Norwich branch of CAMRA - Credit: Richard Dixon

Richard Dixon, pub protection officer for Norwich and District branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), said: "Ideally we would like to see it open as pub but it is being closed with permission to turn into a boutique hotel."

Ian Stamp, chairman of the Norwich & District branch of CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, pictured b

Ian Stamp, chairman of the Norwich & District branch of CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale - Credit: Archant

Ian Stamp, branch chairman, said: "We'd prefer for the building to stay as a pub but the chances are remote. We need more pubs in the centre but once people have got permission for other uses they tend to be more profitable."

He added you could not make a fast buck with a pub compared to residential projects.

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Mr Stamp said: "We have got excellent pubs in the city but in the centre it is not very busy. There are a lot of pubs between the inner and outer ring road but in the centre pubs are scattered about. Once shops close it does tend to be quiet.

"It is difficult but the way trends have gone, there are more outside spaces for people going out and micro pubs are opening. Pubs are good for the economy."

Dawn Hopkins, owner and landlady of The Rose in Norwich, says things are tough for the industry

Dawn Hopkins, owner and landlady of The Rose Inn in Queens Road, Norwich - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Dawn Hopkins, landlady of the Rose Inn, in Queens Road, said: "It would be lovely if it could continue as a pub but it is difficult trading."

Martin Schmierer, leader of the Green group on Norwich City Council. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

Martin Schmierer, Green city councillor for Mancroft ward in Norwich - Credit: SIMON FINLAY

Martin Schmierer, Green city councillor for the Mancroft ward, said: "I would like to think whoever buys it consults with the community and it is not about their bank balance. I don't know if a pub is the most viable option because times are changing in terms of eating and drinking habits."