Popular Norwich pub closes

David BaleAnother popular Norwich pub has shut its doors - but the owners said today they hoped to reopen it as soon as possible.David Bale

Another popular city pub has shut its doors - but the owners said today they hoped to reopen it as soon as possible.

The Gibraltar Gardens in Heigham Street closed this week and the landlords are believed to have left the country.

The pub is owned by pub group, Enterprise Inns, whose spokeswoman said: 'The retailers have unexpectedly decided to cease trading, despite having asked for and received substantial financial assistance from Enterprise Inns plc.

'We are already in discussions with a new retailer and hope to re-open the pub to the local community as soon as possible.'

The pub was being run by Irvin and Jo Verret, who in July 2008 returned from retirement in Florida to rescue the pub, which they had previously run.

Their return was prompted by the bankruptcy of the previous tenants, Richard Jacques and Deborah Williams, who is the Verrets' daughter.

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The Verrets were unavailable for comment today, but neighbours said they believed that they had returned to the US.

The Gibraltar Gardens has been a pub since at least the 18th century and parts of the building date back another 300 years.

Norwich pub historian Derek McDonald said its name could come from the capture in 1704 of Gibraltar by Sir Cloudesley Shovell, who was from Norfolk.

The Evening News' Love Your Local Campaign aims to get people back into pubs which are struggling to beat the effects of government tax hikes, the smoking ban, competition from supermarkets selling cheaper alcohol, and the rents and beer prices charged by the major pub companies.

For more stories on the Evening News' Love Your Local campaign, visit www.eveningnews24.co.uk/loveyourlocal.

Have you got a pubs story? Ring reporter David Bale on 01603 772427 or email david.bale2@archant.co.uk.