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Norwich pub saved from demolition

PUBLISHED: 18:00 11 June 2010 | UPDATED: 17:13 01 July 2010

Lindsey Meher at the Canary pub

Lindsey Meher at the Canary pub

David Bale

A popular community pub has been saved - and the landlady said it was down to The Evening News

A popular community pub has been saved - and the landlady said it was down to The Evening News.

The Canary pub in Watling Road, Heartsease, has been granted a reprieve, after Norwich City Council's planning committee turned down plans to demolish it yesterday.

The council's officers had recommended approval of an application to knock it down and build 24 new homes on the site.

But campaigners delivered a petition to the council with 540 names on it calling for the pub to be kept, and councillors agreed that it should be retained as a community facility.

Landlady Lindsay Maher, who could not attend the City Hall meeting because of illness, said afterwards: “I cannot believe that we have won.

“It's down to the Evening News. Thanks so much for all the stories you have done. The Canary pub has been in the paper so much recently that I've been embarrassed.”

The Evening News has campaigned to save the Enterprise Inns-owned pub ever since we revealed that, despite an upturn in its fortunes under Ms Maher, who took over in January, plans had been lodged to demolish it.

Our campaign was backed by Norwich North MP Chloe Smith who wrote to the chief executive of Enterprise Inns urging him to come to Norwich and see the pub for himself.

Crome ward city councillor Alan Waters also wrote to the council objecting to the plans, and again urged fellow councillors at the meeting to save it.

He said: “My concern, essentially, is with it as a community benefit. The work Lindsay Maher has done in a short time has demonstrated the potential of the pub to be an invaluable community asset. I cannot overstate the vigour and enthusiasm people have shown in rallying round to save the pub.”

His views were backed by Martine Lofty, a pub customer who spoke at the meeting on behalf of Ms Maher, and said: “We have a petition with 540 signatures on it of people on the Heartsease estate who don't want to lose this great asset.

“There's a buzz around the estate talking about how lovely the pub is. It's a place where families can go. I have booked a party there next week for my 40th birthday. We have lost a lot on this estate and we don't want to lose it.”

Meanwhile, Chris Dove, from the applicants Essex-based Dove Jeffery Homes, told the meeting that Enterprise Inns was subsidising the pub up to £2,000 a month, and said that situation could not continue.

“It's an issue of viability,” he said. “Sooner or later that pub will have to close. That's the unfortunate reality for pubs up and down the country. From the brewery's perspective it's not a viable option to keep it open.”

An Enterprise Inns spokeswoman said it does not discuss private and confidential matters which may arise in the business relationships between the company and its retailers.

Dove Jeffery Homes wants to build 10 three-bedroom houses, 10 two-bedroom houses and four two-bedroom apartments with car parking on the site.

The Evening News has urged people to support their local pub through our Love Your Local campaign.

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

Are you trying to save your local? Ring reporter David Bale on 01603 772427 or email david.bale2@archant.co.uk.

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