Norwich pub in dispute with neighbour over tables and chairs licence

One of Norwich's most historic pubs is facing a fresh battle to keep its outdoor tables and chairs – after an attempt to resolve a dispute with a neighbouring business through 'restorative justice' failed.

The Murderers in Timberhill has had permission for the tables and chairs since September 1996. But since May 2008 the pub's licence for the outdoor area has come under fire, mainly from neighbouring optician Moss and Leakey complaining of rowdy drinkers.

Despite opposition, the pub's licence was approved in February 2009, but it is up for renewal next week after the optician again objected to the plans to the city council. The two sides had previously met to iron out their differences to try to reach a compromise in the form of 'restorative justice', which aims to get both parties talking to each other. But neither the pub's landlord Phil Cutter nor David Foskett, managing partner at Moss and Leakey, were able to agree on the way forward.

Mr Cutter said Norwich City Council had received four letters of support for the licence but just one letter of objection.

He said: 'Come next week, this exact same licence will have been reviewed on four occasions over the past four years. It is regrettable that while it seems I have the support of many other traders along Timberhill, it is the biggest and loudest voice which seems to be heard.

'Last year there were only five crimes reported in the whole of Timberhill, and none was connected to our pub. Having tables and chairs is an important part of my business, but it's not really the monetary value. It's another thing for us to offer, especially during the summer.'

However, Moss and Leakey believes the road and pavements are not wide enough to safely allow for the chairs and tables and say smokers and drinkers outside the pub cause a nuisance. Mr Foskett said: 'The outside area becomes populated with alcohol-fuelled customers and nuisance; rowdiness and the use of foul language are the inevitable consequences.

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'Our clients, the general public, repeatedly and justifiably complain they are intimidated by the sheer volume of people standing in the public highway and feel unsafe as a result.

'We strongly request that the renewal application be rejected.' The application is scheduled to be considered by Norwich City Council's regulatory committee on Tuesday at 2pm.

Are you in dispute with a neighbour? Call David Bale on 01603 772427 or email