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Fight is on to save Norwich pub

PUBLISHED: 11:00 12 January 2010 | UPDATED: 07:23 02 July 2010

The Constitution Tavern where a petition has been started to try and stop it being closed.

The Constitution Tavern where a petition has been started to try and stop it being closed.

Ben Kendall

The fight is on to save a city pub before another of Norwich's long-established locals bites the dust.

The fight is on to save a city pub before another of Norwich's long-established locals bites the dust.

A petition has been set up to save the Constitution Tavern in Constitution Hill, in the north of the city, after the landlord was given notice that the pub is set to close.

Steve Butcher has been running the pub, which dates back to 1864, for the past six months but has been told by its owners that his contract will not be renewed.

The 56-year-old, who was told the news last Monday, said: “They've told me the pub is not making enough money but I've turned this place around.

“When I came in here, it was in a right state but it's clean and warm now, it's a meeting place and people are happy. Why can't they give me another six month contract?”

So far, 50 people have signed the petition in a bid to save the establishment. If it closes, it will not only see the city lose another of its pubs but will also leave Mr Butcher homeless.

Melvyn Bailey, 62, from Old Catton, who has been going to the Constitution Tavern for 22 years, said: “I would be gutted if it closes. The man here has turned it around - it's part of the community and area. We need as many signatures as we can get.”

It is believed the owners, the nearby Constitution Motors who were unavailable for comment yesterday, no longer want the building to be used as a pub. I

t would not be the first time the building was earmarked for another use. In 1992, Constitution Motors wanted to close the pub and turn it into a car spares shop but they were refused planning permission after local objection.

Derek McDonald, pub historian, said: “I'm totally gobsmacked and I think that's disgusting. I know there's stiff competition in that area but if it's doing well then why close it? If the local people are supporting the pub then what's the point of closing it?”

Norwich was once famous for having a church for every week in the year and a pub for every day with the highest number of watering holes per square mile in the UK.

The Evening News' Love Your Local Campaign aims to get punters back into pubs by highlighting what they contribute to the community.

To see previous stories from The Evening News Love Your Local campaign log on to www.eveningnews24.co.uk/loveyourlocal.

Have you got a story for the campaign? Call reporter Kate Scotter on 01603 772326 or email kate.scotter@archant.co.uk

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