Norwich pub could be turned into a bookmakers

A closed-down Norwich pub could be turned into a bookmakers – but a city councillor has objected because local families would rather see it used for a different purpose.

And in another development at the Romany public house in Colman Road, it looks likely that the new foodstore under construction next door will be a Co-op.

The Romany pub has been boarded-up and closed since it was raided by police two years ago when one of its customers was stunned by a police stun gun.

Since then permission has been granted to build a new foodstore on the pub grounds, which is near completion, after the pub's garage and toilet block were demolished. An application to revise that planning permission has been lodged and names the Co-op as the applicant, ending months of speculation as to which company would run the new foodstore.

But the future of the pub building itself is still up in the air. In October plans were submitted to Norwich City Council by Commercial Development Projects convert the pub and living accommodation to form two retail units at ground floor level, with new shop fronts, and four apartments at upper level.

However, that application was withdrawn on December 20 and now the owner has notified the city council that it intends to use the former public house as a betting shop, with the Coral which is currently in the parade moving into the pub.

But that would mean the city council would have to relax a covenant on what uses can be made of the pub building – for which the council would charge �10,000.

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A city council spokesman said: 'The owners of the former Romany pub want to have the covenant extended so they can open a larger betting shop and close the existing one next door.

'This proposal would bring the former pub back into use and there would still be only one betting shop in the parade. As we do not own the existing betting shop, it would not result in a loss of income for the council, and we will receive a capital payment of �10,000 if the covenant is widened.

'Formal consideration is currently being given to this request and councillors will have the opportunity to lodge objections if they wish.'

Bert Bremner, city councillor for University ward, has already lodged an objection after he canvassed opinion of people living in the area. He said: 'I am objecting to it because so many people have told me they don't want a betting shop there, they want it to be something more useful to the community.

'What they would really like there is a fish and chip shop, but ultimately it is up to the owners and finding an entrepreneur who wants to run a business there.'

The Evening News has, through our Love Your Local campaign, urged people to use their local pubs before they vanish forever.

Do you have a story about one of the city's pubs? Call Evening News reporter David Bale on 01603 772427 or email