Revamped Norwich pub The Earlham Arms is to shut after barely five months

A Norwich pub has closed suddenly after suffering a poor festive period, less than five months after undergoing a revamp.

Last September the Evening News told how the pub, formerly The Fountain and The Schoolhouse, on Earlham Road had changed its name to The Earlham Arms after a complete refurbishment, a move which owners hoped would bolster trade.

But yesterday it was announced that it would cease trading.

Business partners and couple Patrick Fisher and Amy Hancock leased the property from owners Tony and Karen Parish and ran it on a day-to-day basis. However, the pair recently took the decision to transfer the lease of the pub back to Mr and Mrs Parish after trade dwindled.

They claim that two days ago Mr and Mrs Parish announced they would not keep the pub open, and had a client lined up with plans for a restaurant at the site.

Mrs Hancock said: 'It is really sad. In the current climate it just wasn't working. My staff have been amazing and I want to thank the locals for their support.'

The pub was also hit by the rising cost of showing Premier League football matches.

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Bar manager Nathan Evans said: 'When the Norwich games were on we were packed, then the problems happened and we couldn't show them. The games would make up for the quiet days.

'People had to go elsewhere, it was a massive blow.'

Bar supervisor Tabby Farrar, 20, from Avenue Road, said: 'I think it is just a rubbish location. It is too far from the city and not close enough to any areas to be enough people's local.'

The outcome has come as a shock to the staff, who claim they believed the pub's future was safe.

Mrs Farrar added: 'We were told the owners would keep it open as a pub. Then the evening before a meeting we were told they weren't. I have no idea what I am going to do. That was my full-time job.'

However, the building's owner, Mr Parish, said: 'I'm not responsible for the staff and I never intended to run it as a pub, I'm just taking back my property.

'I said if there was a possibility of continuing as a pub it would be good, but I didn't lead anyone on.

'I don't want this place to be vacant, I wasn't expecting it back so soon.'

Around nine jobs have been lost due to the closure.

The Evening News has been urging people to support their pubs as part of its Love Your Local campaign.

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