Fight to save Norfolk pub

Rob GarrattThe countdown is on to save a Norfolk pub after a landlord called for a new licensee to step forward by Friday - or he will close his doors for good.Rob Garratt

The countdown is on to save a Norfolk pub after a landlord called for a new licensee to step forward by Friday - or he will close his doors for good.

Pete Turner, landlord of the Cock Inn in Barford, is making a last ditch appeal to find a new owner for the pub.

The landlord, well known in Norwich after running at least eight city pubs over the last 34 years, says he will be closing down The Cock on Friday unless he can find a new landlord.

The well-known publican says the triple whammy of the recession, smoking ban and cheap supermarket booze has forced him out of the business.

The Cock has been the only pub in Barford for nearly 50 years, and has attracted customers from well beyond the village since first opening in 1830.

But if a new owner is not found soon the building may never be used as a pub again.

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Mr Turner said: 'We've seen a lot of ups and a lot of downs, it's just been too hard for too long and it's time to draw a line.

'Hopefully somebody somewhere will take it on, it's very important to me that having spent so much time and work on it that it stays a pub.'

Mr Turner, 56, is best known for an eight year spell in charge of The Golden Star in Colegate, as well as spells at The Plasterers Arms in Cowgate, The Unthank Arms in Newmarket Street, The York Tavern in Leicester Street, The Eagle in Newmarket Road, The Jubilee in Thorpe Hamlet, The Rose Tavern in Rupert Street and The Ten Bells in St Benedicts Street.

He says he has ploughed more than �95,000 into The Cock over his 10 years in charge, and was trading well until around two years ago when trade slowly started to dissolve, something the recession closed the lid on.

Mr Turner originally put the business on the market two years ago for �595,000, a figure that was slashed to just �365,000 within 12 months.

Now he is advertising the pub for just �325,000 with Sidney Phillips, based on Norwich's St Stephens Road.

He added: 'The whole world of pubs has changed in the last 20 years, I blame the supermarkets and smoking ban equally.'

Mr Turner, who currently still lives at the pub, also owned a shop, the Barford Stores, which closed down two years ago. He says the shop and pub were thought to add �30,000 in value to nearby homes.

Local pub historian Derek McDonald said: 'It's a real shame, city pubs seem to close down pretty often but it's a shame to lose a county pub. It's been around since 1830 and has a fair bit of history.'

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