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People power stops Norwich pub becoming bookies

The Romany pub in Colman Road

The Romany pub in Colman Road

copyright of Archant © 2010 01603 772434

A closed-down Norwich pub will not be turned into a bookmakers, after city councillors objected to the move because of concerns raised by local families.

The Romany pub has been boarded-up and closed since it was raided by police two years ago.

Since then the future of the Colman Road pub has been up in the air.

In October plans were submitted to Norwich City Council by Commercial Development Projects to convert the pub into two shops, with new shop fronts, and four apartments upstairs.

However, that application was withdrawn last month and the owner then notified the city council it wanted to use the former public house as a betting shop.

The Coral bookmakers - currently in the nearby parade of shops - would have closed its existing branch to move into the bigger space at the former pub.

To enable that to happen, Norwich City Council was ready to alter a covenant on what use can be made of the pub building, in return for a payment of £10,000.

But families living nearby were angry at the proposal, telling their local councillors that they would rather see a more community-orientated business moving into the pub.

Bert Bremner, Labour city councillor for University ward and Adrian Ramsay, Green city councillor for Nelson ward were among those who lodged objections to the changes - which persuaded City Hall officers not to alter the covenant.

A spokesman for Norwich City Council said: “We have received strong representations from a number of councillors about this proposal. In the light of the concerns expressed, we will not be proceeding further.”

Mr Ramsay said he was pleased that the council had decided not to go ahead. He said: “The residents I had spoken to were surprised at the proposal for the bookmakers when there was already one in the parade and that there are already empty shops there.

“Clearly there needed to be a democratic decision, so I am pleased that councillors were consulted and that our views have been taken into account.”

Coral did not want to comment.

Meanwhile, it has emerged that a new store built on the grounds of the pub, following the demolition of its garage and toilet block, is likely to be a Co-op.

Permission had been granted for the construction work, but an application to revise that planning permission names the Co-op as the applicant, ending months of speculation as to which company would run the new foodstore.

The Evening News has, through our Love Your Local campaign, urged people to use their local pubs before they vanish forever.

• Do you have a story about one of the city’s pubs? Call Evening News reporter David Bale on 01603 772427 or email david.bale2@archant.co.uk

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