Pop-up bar faces stiff opposition in bid to become permanent

Inset: Aidan Mahon has launched the Weir, a riverside bar in Norwich

Inset: Aidan Mahon has launched the Weir, a riverside bar in Norwich - Credit: The Weir/Archant

A temporary riverside bar which was set up as a response to coronavirus restrictions is facing stiff opposition in its bid to become a more permanent fixture.

The Weir is the venture of Norwich publican Aidan Mahon and was set up in May as a pop-up bar, restaurant and café, but is hoping to become a more permanent fixture in the city. 

A similar project ran in 2020 under the name of the Marquee of St Benedict's Street, which was met with a range of noise complaints from neighbours, with a bid for a permanent licence scrapped.

Aidan Mahon has launched the Marquee of St Benedicts street food festival in a Norwich car park and

Aidan Mahon has launched the Marquee of St Benedicts street food festival in a Norwich car park and also revealed plans for his new Irish bar Picture: Britanny Woodman - Credit: Archant

However, following a four-week spell earlier this year in which The Weir opened, Mr Mahon has lodged a fresh bid for a permanent licence, allowing the venue to open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays between noon and 10pm. 

Michelle Bartrum, Norfolk Constabulary's licensing officer, confirmed that during this four-week spell no issues were reported to the police.


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However, Mr Mahon's licensing bid is facing a raft of objections from neighbours, a homeless charity and Norwich South MP Clive Lewis, who have all called on Norwich City Council to refuse the application.

Jan Sheldon, chief executive of St Martin's Housing Trust, has highlighted concerns over the venue's proximity to Highwater House, a facility the charity uses to support 22 vulnerable people at a time.

The scheme is being delivered by St Martins Housing Trust. Pictured is chief executive Dr Jan Sheldo

The scheme is being delivered by St Martins Housing Trust. Pictured is chief executive Dr Jan Sheldon. Picture: St Martins - Credit: Archant

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Dr Sheldon said: "Our main concern is making sure the people we are supporting are as safe as they possibly can be."

And in his written objection, Labour MP Mr Lewis said: "The proposed premises would greatly jeopardise what is currently a safe space for those recovering from substance abuse."

And Martin Schmierer is among three Green Party councillors to oppose the venue.

He said: "It is not an appropriate place for a licensed venue. It is a residential area and the river carries sound, so it is not only homes directly nearby that are impacted by noise."

The venue does, however, have support from a number of neighbouring businesses, including the nearby Central Hotel, on Riverside Road, a spokesperson for which said it would be "beneficial to the face of Norwich".

Norwich City Council will decide the venue's fate at a meeting on Thursday. 

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