Flat conversion plan throws future of pub into question

Heath House, Gertrude Road, pub of the week. Picture: Denise Bradley

Heath House pub when it was open in 2012 - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2012

The future of a city pub hangs in the balance after a property developer submitted a bid to convert part of the former business into several flats.

Dan Trivedi, from Trivedi Property Developments, has put in change of use plans for Heath House pub in Gertrude Road to Norwich City Council.

If approved, part of the building will be turned into a nine-bedroom house of multiple occupancy. 

However the plans also state there will be a "retention of a commercial use on the site".

When asked if the pub was currently trading, or if the site will reopen as a pub, Mr Trivedi declined to comment.

Dan Trivedi, pictured on turning around the fortunes of the Prince of Denmark pub last year by intro

Dan Trivedi, pictured on turning around the fortunes of the Prince of Denmark pub last year by introducing takeaway Strangers coffee and toasted sandwiches. - Credit: Dan Trivedi

However the property developer, who owns multiple businesses in Norwich including the Prince of Denmark, revealed: "In its current form the business is not viable.

"I know by making the premises slightly smaller it gives businesses a better chance. It provides other forms of income."

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If plans are backed there would be five self-contained flats on the first floor and four on the ground floor.

Mr Trivedi was frustrated that Natural England's nutrient neutrality ruling could delay his vision becoming a reality.

He explained: "There is a lack of single accommodation units in Norwich. We are trying to fill that need. I cannot understand how when there is a shortage of housing stock, developers are having to wait 18 months."

The businessman added he had a long-term idea to build homes on the redundant outdoor bowling green.

A controversial application for four homes on the green was turned down by the city council in 2017 and an appeal by applicants Hines, Moore and Piggin was dismissed by the planning inspector in 2018.

Julie Brociek-Coulton, city and county councillor for Sewell.

Julie Brociek-Coulton, city and county councillor for Sewell. - Credit: Victoria Pertusa

Julie Brociek-Coulton, Labour city and county councillor for Sewell ward, said: "I'm worried about parking because people already park on double yellow lines nearby."

Green city councillor for the area, Alex Catt, added: "People would like to retain this as a green space with free public access and so we are seeking assurances from the council."

Richard Dixon, pub protection officer for Norwich and District branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), said: "If the developers do this to keep the pub open it is better than it closing."