'More of a service than a business': Bid to turn pub into local shop

Pub of the Week, The Forge in Philadelphia Lane, Norwich.; Photo by Simon Finlay

The Forge in Philadelphia Lane, Norwich.; Photo by Simon Finlay - Credit: Archant

A pub that closed with little warning earlier this year could be turned into a convenience store.

Logesvaran Nadarajan has applied to Norwich City Council to convert The Forge in Philadelphia Lane into a shop, which he says will be "more of a service than a business" for the neighbouring community.

But he faces objection from the Campaign for Real Ale, which is keen for it to restart its life as a boozer.

Mr Nadarajan said the vision for the shop would fill what he sees as a void in NR3 - a miniature supermarket where people can pick up their groceries, fresh and frozen, alcohol or tobacco.

He said: "In the area there really isn't much in the way of shops - it is almost entirely residential and does not really have many shops at all.

"We are not trying to attract people from out of the area, we're looking to provide something for the people living nearby so they don't have to get into their cars to get groceries. Really we want to be more of a service than a business."

But Richard Dixon, pub protections officer for the Campaign for Real Ale's local branch, said it would be "a sad loss" for it to no longer be a pub.

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He said: "We certainly do not want to lose another pub in that area. I would hate to see it converted into a shop rather than a pub.

"We've already lost the Woodcock and the Dyers Arms near there,  so it would be a shame to lose another one."

Mr Dixon added that CAMRA would be submitting a formal objection to the plans.

But Mr Nadarajan is hopeful the plans will be given the green light and the store can open for business before Christmas.

The pub announced its permanent closure on Facebook in January, with its owners announcing that it had been sold.

It had been known as the pub for more than 30 years, having been renamed to it in 1984. According to the Norfolk Pubs website it was previously known as the Loaf.

Norwich City Council will consider the application in due course.