Third bid to turn listed Norwich building into drinking establishment

Controversial plans to sell alcohol from a listed building in the city will be back before city councillors next week for a third time and have attracted a raft of objections.

Plans to turn the former Country and Eastern shop in Redwell Street into a bar have twice been turned down by Norwich City Council amid a series of complaints.

But now Thorpe Road-based 100 Degrees North Limited have lodged an application for the grant of a premises licence for the historic building, which they hope will operate as a wine shop.

If granted by the city council's licensing sub committee, which meets on January 24, the premises, which includes a retail shop and basement, would be permitted to supply alcohol for consumption both on and off the site for tasting purposes.

The applicants want to be able to open and supply alcohol between 8am and 10pm from Monday to Sunday.

But the application has again attracted a wave of opposition from neighbours and businesses.

Carol Hardman, of Princes Street, said the shop would be 'an unwelcome addition to our neighbourhood' and added that the inclusion of drinking on the premises 'also causes huge concern'.

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She said that if tastings were to take place over several hours there would inevitably be those who wanted to smoke, but said there was no smoking provision at the site.

Doctors Hale Tufan and Cyril Zipfel of Princes Street said it is the third time in a year they have had to object to the site being turned into a 'drinking establishment' and did so on the grounds of preventing crime and disorder and public nuisance in this residential and historical part of the city.

Philip Watson, who lives in Mandell's Court, who also objected, said: 'This application represents (as those before) an extension of the so-called drinking 'culture' into this small and embattled historic area of this ancient city.

'Local businesses and residents are once again having to resist the ever-increasing pressures of an already drink-saturated context; and once again we have to look to our city councillors and officers for the protection of our well-being as well as the preservation of the heritage of our city.'

Julian Foster, chairman of the Central Norwich Citizens' Forum said he had no objection to it being used as a shop that sells alcohol, but would object to a licence that allowed the applicant to sell alcohol for drinking on the premises.

Norwich University College of the Arts also objected on the grounds that customers could be in danger from heavy traffic which operates in the area while leaving the premises.

In August, a revised bid to open a new bar at the site by Global Solutions was blocked after councillors refused to grant planning permission. The firm also had an initial plan to turn the former shop into a bar thwarted in December 2009.

The licensing sub committee will have the power to grant the application as asked, modify conditions of the licence or reject all or part of the application.

Do you have plans to restore a building to its former glory? Call reporter Peter Walsh on 01603 772436 or email