Brexit and Covid blamed for rise in cost of pub site housing scheme

The King's Arms pub at Mile Cross Road pictured in 2013. Pic: Denise Bradley

The King's Arms pub at Mile Cross Road pictured in 2013. Pic: Denise Bradley - Credit: Archant 2013

Works to convert a rat-infested former pub into a social housing development are poised to get under way this summer.

Last year, Norwich City Council forced the sale of the land on which former King's Arms pub on Mile Cross Lane stood.

The compulsory purchase of the site set the wheels in motion for it to be used for the council's latest social housing project, which will be led by Broadland Housing Association.

The site at Mile Cross Road in Norwich where the King's Arms pub once stood. Pic: Google Street View

The site at Mile Cross Road in Norwich where the King's Arms pub once stood. Pic: Google Street View. - Credit: Google Street View

This week, the council's cabinet is set to appoint a contractor to carry out the work which, if agreed, will begin this summer.

But while the final costs will not be made public before the scheme is agreed, a report to the cabinet has revealed concerns it will be greater than originally anticipated.

In his report, council officer Tony Jones wrote: "During 2021, the availability and cost of materials - due both to Brexit and the ongoing Covid situation - do appear to indicate higher costs than in estimates made 12 to 18 months ago."

Gail Harris, Norwich City Council cabinet member for social housing. Pic: Archant Library.

Gail Harris, Norwich City Council cabinet member for social housing. Pic: Archant Library. - Credit: Submitted

Gail Harris, Norwich City Council's cabinet member for social housing, said: "This project is a proactive move that meets the council’s priorities of building and maintaining good-quality social housing to meet demands.


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“It also creates an opportunity to repurpose and adapt a vacant and dilapidated building into something positive for Norwich residents.

“It’s another really great development for the city and addition to our growing housing stock.”

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On Wednesday, the cabinet will be asked to award a contract to a firm to both design and build the development, with members advised that now the purchase has been completed, scrapping the scheme would not be viable.

The King's Arms last pulled pints more than 20 years ago, closing its doors in 2000. It then stood empty for 15 years before finally being demolished six years ago.

Since then, the site became a blight on the local community, attracting anti-social behaviour, fly-tipping and becoming infested with rodents.

Planning permission is already in place for five homes to be built on the site, which will be designed to a 'fabric first' approach, in order to reduce energy use and comply with low carbon standards.

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