Drive launched to save popular pub from closure

Claire Brooks, who runs the Walnut Tree Shades with husband Dale, has launched a Crowdfunder campaig

Claire Brooks, who runs the Walnut Tree Shades with husband Dale, has launched a Crowdfunder campaign to save the pub and live music venue from closue during coronavirus lockdown Picture: Supplied - Credit: Archant

The Walnut Tree Shades in Norwich has been a live music venue for the last 35 years, but mounting debts caused by coronavirus lockdown mean it could be forced to close.

The Walnut Tree Shades during Norwich City of Ale 2019 Picture: Supplied

The Walnut Tree Shades during Norwich City of Ale 2019 Picture: Supplied - Credit: Archant

The city centre pub, located in the Old Post Office Court off Gentleman’s Walk, has been run by couple Claire and Dale Brooks since 2010 and over the last decade they have championed local musicians with regular live bands and open mic nights.

On January 31, the couple negotiated a new five year contract with Ei Publican Partnerships and were feeling excited about the future but they have now been left with no income due to coronavirus.

Although they have received a £25,000 grant from the government they still have to pay rent to Ei, although this has been deferred “for the foreseeable future”, so by the end of June there will be nothing left.

To keep the pub afloat for an extra three months once the money runs out, they have launched a Crowdfunder campaign to raise £8,000, in partnership with the Music Venue Trust who works with grassroots venues across the UK.

READ MORE: Campaign launched to save The Brickmakers as funds run out ‘at end of June’


You may also want to watch:


They are the second venue in the city to team up with the Trust as The Brickmakers in Sprowston Road, also operated by Ei, are hoping to raise £8,000 too.

The Glamtastics perform at the Walnut Tree Shades Picture: Supplied

The Glamtastics perform at the Walnut Tree Shades Picture: Supplied - Credit: Archant

Mrs Brooks, 42, said: “After signing the new tenancy agreement we were over the moon and had lots of plans and ideas and had a consistently good level of trade.

Most Read

“Our plans have now been wiped out and I can’t see pubs opening in June and would be surprised if it is before Christmas which is quite scary.”

READ MORE: All the Norwich Market stalls that are still open

An Ei Publican Partnerships spokesperson said: “Our regional manager continues to communicate directly with our publican at the Walnut Tree Shades and has advised that rent and charges continue to be deferred for the foreseeable future.

“Our regional manageris continuing to work with them in order to best provide the right level of support and assistance when the industry is permitted to reopen for business.”

You can donate at crowdfunder.co.uk/walnuttreeshades

A packed Walnut Tree Shades before coronavirus lockdown Picture: Supplied

A packed Walnut Tree Shades before coronavirus lockdown Picture: Supplied - Credit: Archant

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter