Publicans in Norwich are optimistic about the future, after a positive but challenging 2014

Dawn Hopkins, landlady at The Rose. Photo: Bill Smith

Dawn Hopkins, landlady at The Rose. Photo: Bill Smith - Credit: Archant © 2012

While publicans in Norwich have reported another challenging year, they are optimistic about the future, and hope to see a more widespread economic recovery across the country in 2015.

This positive outlook has been boosted by help offered by the government with new legislation voted through Parliament to give tied pubs - those that are required to buy at least some of their beer from a particular brewery or pub company - more choice at cheaper prices.

Publicans have also welcomed plans to prevent the change of use of pubs to supermarkets or their demolition without community consultation through the planning application process. At present pubs can be turned into supermarkets without the new owners having to apply for planning permission.

Dawn Hopkins, landlady at the Rose in Queens Road, Norwich, said: 'The pub trade this year has been challenging to say the least, especially as the World Cup didn't turn out to be the bonanza we were all hoping for. Supermarket pricing, business rates, the health lobby and the general economic downturn all continue to affect the pub industry.

'But in 2014 we finally had some good news for tied publicans and their customers who can hopefully look forward to a fairer deal from the large pub companies in the coming years.

'2014 has also been a great year for beer lovers with the continuing rise of independent breweries. 'And I am looking forward to 2015, my 15th year as a landlady. Norwich has become renowned countrywide for its great pubs and I am hoping that 2015 sees another successful City of Ale festival and that our reputation as a beer mecca will grow and bring more customers into our pubs.'

Phil Cutter, landlord at the Murderers in Timberhill, said 2014 was quite a positive year, with the City of Ale festival, a celebration of pubs, beers and breweries, again proving a highlight.

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He said: 'Trade at the Murderers is slightly up on last year, as is profitability.

'We have spent a lot of money on our new music lounge, which is a new venture for us. Hopefully, that will make a difference on some of the quieter nights.

'Next year, City of Ale will be back again for its fifth venture.

'It's about consolidating what we have done in the last few years. As a community of pubs in Norwich, we are working hard to make people come back to our pubs. I think the economy is slightly getting better, and, hopefully, we will see more of the green shoots of recovery appearing next year.'

The Norwich Evening News has, through its Love Your Local campaign, sought to highlight the pubs which are at the heart of our communities and to encourage people to use them or lose them.

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