Former Norwich pub to become Muslim centre?

A closed Norwich pub may never serve pints again but it could be saved for the community if plans for a change of use are approved.

The Norwich and Norfolk Muslim Association has applied to use the former Queen Charlotte pub, originally known as the Lord Nelson, in Dereham Road as a community centre.

The change of use would involve minor alterations to the building mainly to update toilet facilities and create two offices.

The pub has been closed for several years and is currently a derelict eyesore, and Green party Wensum city councillor Rupert Read has welcomed the plans.

He said: 'This is good news for the area and the community, and I will be supporting the application.

'The building is empty and is at risk from vandalism and what we need there is some kind of community facility.

'I understand the people behind the plans are keen to allow some wider community use in the building, and are offering one of the rooms inside for hire at reasonable rates for local people to use as a meeting place/space.'

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Norwich pub historian Derek McDonald also welcomed the plans, which he said were 'sensible'. 'Obviously, I would have liked to see it remain as a pub, but rather than knock it down, it's a good idea to give it back to the community,' he said.

No one from the Muslim Association wanted to comment until planning permission was approved, but a statement submitted to the council by the agent, Anglia Design Architects, based in Charing Cross, Norwich, states the pub was last used in 2008, and that the building was now falling into disrepair.

As reported, in 2009 almost 200 people signed a petition calling for refurbishment work to be carried out at the pub to allow a keen couple to re-open it, but the pub's then owner Admiral Taverns decided the renovations were not cost-effective and instead put it up for sale at �295,000 plus VAT.

The pub dates back to 1839 and was originally based at a site nearby before it was moved to its present site in the early 1900s before being rebuilt after bomb damage in April 1942. In 1989 its name was changed to the Artful Dodger, in 2001 it became Dodger's Karaoke Caf� and Bar and in 2006 it became the Queen Charlotte.

The Evening News has been urging customers to return to pubs throughout our Love your Local campaign. To see more stories from the campaign visit www.eveningnews

Have you got a story about a pub? Call David Bale on 01603 772427 or email