Former music haven pub will be demolished to make way for flats

The Blueberry Music House on Cowgate in Norwich. 

The Blueberry Music House on Cowgate in Norwich. - Credit: Archant

A pub once at the heart of Norwich's music scene will be demolished to make way for a block of flats.

The Blueberry Music House, on Cowgate in Norwich, was one of the go-to places for aspiring musicians to perform before it closed down in 2019.

It has been empty since it closed before being placed up for sale in January last year.

On Thursday, Norwich City Council's planning committee examined plans to replace the building with a three-storey residential building, providing 15 flats.

The application features 11 one-bedroom flats and four two-bedroom properties, with three of the flats set to be affordable homes.

The venue in Cowgate has now been boarded up. Picture: Archant

The Blueberry pub on Cowgate closed its doors in 2019. - Credit: Archant

The plans were adjusted to reduce the height and bulk of the building after 27 neighbours highlighted concerns about the property overshadowing the neighbouring area.

The pub had previously been registered as an asset of community value, but this lapsed in October 2020 and the applicant, the Campaign for Real Ale, did not seek to extend the application.

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In recommending that councillors approve the scheme, case officer Sarah Hinchcliffe wrote in her report that the plans would fill a need for single bedroom properties in the city.

Councillors had a mixed reaction to the plans, with Sandra Bogelein describing the application as "finely balanced". 

Ms Bogelein and Judith Lubbock acknowledged the need for housing but raised concerns about the lack of green space.

The Blueberry Music House on Cowgate in Norwich.

The Blueberry Music House on Cowgate in Norwich. - Credit: Emily Thomson

Ms Bogelein said: "We have heard several times about the constraints of the site, and it is constrained.

"It is too constrained to have 15 flats without completely altering the street scene and having a quite small amenity space."

Keith Drive, chairman of the committee, who was in support of the plans, said: "I think it's a good idea.

"It is a shame for Norwich a pub has gone but we have got three affordable homes on there. If the number of flats went down then we would lose them completely."

While Ian Stutely liked the elements of the design and supported the application, he described the applicant as "lucky" that the current site was beyond repair.

Councillors approved the plans.