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Last-ditch bid to save Heartsease pub

PUBLISHED: 18:14 07 June 2010 | UPDATED: 17:06 01 July 2010

Manager Lindsey Meher is facing an unsure future

Manager Lindsey Meher is facing an unsure future

David Bale

Campaigners fighting to keep a popular pub today urged city councillors to go against their officers' recommendation to knock it down - and save it for the community.

Campaigners fighting to keep a popular pub today urged city councillors to go against their officers' recommendation to knock it down - and save it for the community.

They fear the death knell for the Canary pub in Heartsease will be sounded at a planning meeting on Thursday as an application to demolish and build 24 homes on the site is recommended for approval despite a huge campaign to save it.

The Canary's landlady Lindsay Maher, who has turned round the Enterprise Inns-owned pub's fortunes since taking over in January, made one last plea for help.

She said: “I have urged and urged and I'm now exhausted but if it will do any good, I'll urge the council and Enterprse Inns again to save the pub.

“I feel very sorry for the locals and I will feel very sorry if and when I leave here.

“I have pulled out every stop and done everything I could to save the pub but the powers-that-be have not listened. I feel very sad for the community as a whole.”

Canary regular Brian Bobbin, 70, who lives near the Watling Road pub, said he had always gone for a drink there, adding: “I definitely urge councillors to turn down the application.

“If it closes I will have nowhere else to go as I have an invalid's bike and can only make it to this pub because it's so near. It's a community pub and the only place where a lot of elderly people can go for a chat and to meet friends.”

Another punter, who did not wish to be named, said it was the hub of the community. He added: “I think it's disgraceful that they plan to knock it down. The whole community will lose out. I urge city councillors to turn the application down whatever they are being recommended to do.”

The Evening News has reported that 400 people have signed a petition to save the pub and Norwich North MP Chloe Smith has written to Enterprise Inns inviting its chief executive to come to Norwich to see the pub for himself.

Miss Smith said today it was “disappointing” the application was recommended for approval at the council meeting.

Crome ward city councillor Alan Waters has also written to the council supporting the retention of the pub as a community facility.

And heritage watchdog the Norwich Society has expressed concerns that its demolition would be a loss to the area.

But Norwich City Council's planning committee is recommended by its officers at its meeting at City Hall at 10am on Thursday to approve plans to demolish the Canary pub and build 24 homes on the site, subject to conditions.

In a report to the council, officers acknowledged the pub provides an important community facility but found that on balance, after weighing up its planning policy, the proposals should be accepted.

The condition attached to approval is that agreement be completed to include the provision of contributions to child play space, transportation and street trees.

The plans were submitted by Essex-based Dove Jeffery Homes to build 10 three-bedroom houses, 10 two-bedroom houses and four two-bedroom apartments with car parking on the site.

An Enterprise Inns spokeswoman said: “Enterprise Inns do not discuss private and confidential matters which may arise in the business relationships between the company and its retailers.”

The Evening News has urged people to support their local pub through our Love Your Local campaign.

To see more stories from the campaign, visit www.eveningnews24.co.uk/loveyourlocal.

Have you helped breathe new life into a city pub? Call reporter David Bale on 01603 772427 or email david.bale2@archant.co.uk.

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