Plans for former Norwich pub hang in the balance

Rob GarrattPlans to knock down parts of a city pub to make way for a new food store have been put on ice after city councillors voted against the proposals.Rob Garratt

Plans to knock down parts of a city pub to make way for a new food store have been put on ice after city councillors voted against the proposals.

But the future of the Romany, in Colman Road, stills hangs in the balance with the applicants saying they are 'more than likely' to appeal against the decision.

Norwich City Council's planning applications committee yesterday threw out proposals to knock down the pub's garage and toilet block to build a convenience store with 400sqm of retail space.

The decision came after members narrowly voted 5-4 in favour of a motion put by Rupert Read, Green councillor for Wensum, to reject the plans, despite the fact they had been recommended for approval by council officers.

Mr Read claimed a food store would create additional and dangerous traffic conditions as customers and delivery vans came in and out of the 29 space car park, using an existing service road onto Colman Road and The Avenues.

Mr Read also argued the new building would not fit in visually with the old pub, and said a food store could affect the trading of other nearby businesses.

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The decision comes after several neighbours wrote to the council calling for the plans to be halted.

But despite the vote, Edward Ledwidge, spokesman for the developers Commercial Development Projects, said there was no basis for a rejection in planning law, and announced afterwards an appeal against the decision was 'more than likely'.

Mr Ledwidge told the meeting the firm was yet find a tenant for the store. He said: 'There are five or six national operators all of which have the same criteria for sites and car parking, and this meets all of them.'

The Romany has been boarded up and closed since it was raided by police on November 7, 2008 and one of its customers was stunned by a police taser gun.

While the proposed store would not rule out using the main building as a pub or restaurant in future, it does remove the establishment's parking, smoking and toilet facilities.

Fears were raised in the meeting that the land owners may chose to convert the Romany building into a second shop - a step which would not require further planning permission.

An almost identical application to the one considered yesterday was withdrawn by the applicant in December due to concerns raised about servicing arrangements at the site.

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If you have a pub story, call David Bale on 01603 772429 or email