Locals could see Norwich pub reopen as squatter landlords move out

Punters in Tuckswood can expect to see their pub re-opening soon after squatting landlords were moved into a new home.

Locals of the Maid Marian, on Ipswich Road, Norwich, lost their pub when previous tenants, Andrew and Lynne Southworth, locked the doors and declared squatters' rights during a rent row with the owners.

But today, pub owners Enterprise Inns confirmed they were looking for new landlords following the news that Mr and Mrs Southworth had moved to a property at Cherry Close, off Hall Road in Norwich.

A spokesman for Enterprise Inn said: 'We are in discussion with several parties and hope to have the pub back open in the near future.'

The Maid Marian closed at the start of January when the couple, living above the pub with their two children, placed notices on the doors and windows downloaded from the Advisory Service for Squatters website.

The posters declared the family's right to live there and stated that if the owners want to remove them 'they must issue a claim in the County Court or the High Court, or produce a written statement or certificate in terms of S.12A Criminal Law Act, 1977 (as inserted by Criminal Justice and Public Order Act, 1994)'.

Since then, Mr Southworth, 35, has appeared before Norwich Magistrates for offences committed while he was landlord of the pub.

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He admitted five charges of contravening food hygiene regulations and one of selling food past its use-by date.

Victoria MacDonald, Lakenham councillor, said: 'I am pleased to hear that the local people are getting their pub back, but I hope the business development manager at Enterprise Inns will be providing support to the outgoing tenants.'

The Evening News has been urging people to return to pubs in our Love your Local campaign.

To see more stories from the campaign visit www.eveningnews24.co.uk/loveyourlocal.

Do you have story about your local pub? Contact Ben Woods on 01603 772439 or email ben.woods@archant.co.uk