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Landlord's anger after Norwich pub is shut down

Steve O'Shea

Steve O'Shea

©Archant Photographic 2009

A Norwich landlord has criticised the "vicious" way a national company closed down his city pub.

Steve O’Shea, landlord at the The Nelson pub in Nelson Street, off Dereham Road, said representatives from Enterprise Inns “barged” into the pub on Friday without warning, gave staff just seconds to leave and then changed the locks.

He said notices had been put up on the pub’s windows saying it was now closed until further notice and that no one was allowed access.

Enterprise’s regional manager Adam Cogan said he had no choice but to close the pub, which he said was “unsafe” as Mr O’Shea did not have the correct certificates. He said that once Mr O’Shea had these certificates, he could return and run the pub as before.

But Mr O’Shea, pictured, who has run the pub for five years, said he had contacted Norwich South MP Simon Wright to criticise the pub company for its heavy-handed action.

He said: “Mr Cogan came barging in to the pub and frightened all my staff. The staff were given just seconds to leave and then a locksmith changed the locks.

“We employ 11 staff and obviously they are all now facing uncertainty whether they will keep their jobs. I think it’s absolutely disgusting the way they have done it. I’m a big boy, so if they don’t want me to keep running the pub, I can take it.

“But it was vicious. This is a real community pub and we have lots of groups based here, so if the pub does not soon reopen, where are they going to go?”

Mr O’Shea said he had been engaged in “long drawn-out talks” with Enterprise Inns over the renewal of his lease, which expired last year.

He said he had been given three months to sort out four “minor” electrical problems at the pub, which he said did not affect safety, and had booked an electrician. But Mr Cogan said Mr O’Shea had already had plenty of time to sort out the safety issues. He said: “It’s one of these unfortunate things. His lease ran out and he did not have the necessary certificates to keep trading.

“We will rectify those faults, which we don’t have to do, and have booked an electrician on Monday. After that we are prepared to offer Mr O’Shea another agreement to continue running the pub.”

Do you have a story about a pub? Call reporter David Bale on 01603 772427 or email david.bale2@archant.co.uk

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