Norwich pub faces axe

Yet another former Norwich pub looks set to make way for housing - if city councillors agree with advice from planning officers that its loss is acceptable.

The former James I pub in Drayton Road, Mile Cross, has been shut for more than three years but now developers hope to get permission for it to make way so five new homes can be built.

Applicants P & S Waterfield have asked Norwich City Council for permission to part demolish the existing pub, which dates back to the 19th Century, so it can convert it to provide two four-bed homes and two one-bed flats.

The developers, who have already carried out some demolition work because it was in such a poor state of repair, also want permission to build a new three-bed home at the back of the site.

Civic watchdog The Norwich Society had raised concern about the loss of the character of 'this pretty Georgian pub' and said: 'The building should probably have been listed but it is too late now.'

A neighbour also raised concerns that there were no realistic alternative pubs for the local population, but city council officers do not agree.

In their report, which will come before members of the city council's planning applications committee on Thursday (October 14), officers said it was not a listed building and not an identified historic public house, but it had been considered under policy 'with regard to its potential of being the last public house serving a significant residential population'.

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Officers said: 'As part of the applicant's submission a list of 17 public houses have been listed, which are located within approximately one mile of the site.

'The King Edward VII, on Aylsham Road, is situated within 200 metres of the site. With another public house being in such close proximity, it is considered that the loss of the public house would be acceptable... as it is not considered to be the last remaining public house that would serve this residential areas.'

The Evening News reported in 2008 that the building's future as a pub looked uncertain, when Enterprise Inns said they had failed to find a new tenant to run it, so put it up for sale.

The pub dates back to 1854 and used to be known as the Ropemakers Arms before it took the name of James I in 1975 - an unusual name for a pub as the 17th Century monarch was a non-drinker.

Through our Love Your Local campaign, the Evening News has been urging people who want to stop pubs from closing to use them before they lose them.

• Do you have a story about a local pub? Call Evening News reporter David Bale on 01603 772427 or email

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