Plans to demolish historic pub approved just days after suspected arson attack

Smoke and flames as fire breaks out at The Griffin pub in Thorpe St Andrew

Fire at The Griffin pub in Yarmouth Road in Thorpe St Andrew. - Credit: Ian Pearce

Plans to demolish a historic pub on the edge of Norwich have been approved - just days after a devastating fire tore through it.

On Monday, firefighters were called to tackle a blaze at the former Griffin pub on Yarmouth Road in Thorpe St Andrew, which police are treating as a suspect arson attack.

The fire ripped through the derelict pub's roof, with the building's owners saying it had proven "impossible" to keep vandals out

The Griffin pub on Yarmouth Road which was damaged by fire. Credit - Sonya Duncan

The Griffin pub on Yarmouth Road which was damaged by fire. Credit - Sonya Duncan - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Now, just days later, Broadland Council has given the green light for the whole building to be demolished - having turned down a similar bid last year.

The latest application was submitted shortly before Christmas, following unsuccessful attempts to lease out the pub.

However, in approving the latest bid, case officer Helen Bowman wrote: "It is considered that the site has been adequately marketed and given its current state of repair is realistically unlikely to be viable as a public house."

Her report adds: "The building is currently in a poor state of repair and has now been significantly damaged by a fire."


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The application does not include any details of further development, however, Gary Leigh, of owners Sequential Investors, previously said plans are being drawn up for a 98-home extra care facility on the site.

The empty Griffin Pub on the Yarmouth Road at Thorpe St Andrew. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The empty Griffin Pub on the Yarmouth Road at Thorpe St Andrew. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020

A spokesman for Sequential Investors said demolition is expected to begin by the end of February, with a subsequent planning application to follow in the summer. It is then hoped if all goes smoothly with the application that the project will be completed during 2024.

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They added: "Ensuring the security of derelict buildings is a constant challenge. This is made particularly difficult where buildings are within large, open sites with many potential access points.

Norfolk Fire Service attending a fire at The Griffin Pub in Thorpe St Andrew. Picture: Danielle Bood

Norfolk Fire Service attending a fire at The Griffin Pub in Thorpe St Andrew. - Credit: Danielle Booden

"Throughout this process, we worked with the local police and local authority to put in place appropriate safety and security measures."

When the original, refused application was submitted in 2019, Mr Leigh said the building had to be demolished for health and safety reasons as it had been the victim of frequent break-ins.

"We need to building to be demolished before any more damage is done," he said at the time.

Meanwhile, Norfolk Constabulary has confirmed the incident is being treated as arson and investigations are ongoing.

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