September 17 2014 Latest news:
Saturday, March 22, 2014
A Sprowston pub poised to become a Co-op store will be the subject of a public meeting next week.
If the former Beehive Public House, in Cannerby Lane, is turned into a food shop there will be just one pub left in Sprowston - the Blue Boar.
And the weight of concern over its future sparked a public meeting, that will be hosted by Norwich North MP Chloe Smith from 6pm on Thursday.
Co-op store bosses will field questions at the meeting, at Sprowston Senior Citizens Club in Wroxham Road, in a bid to allay fears.
Mrs Smith said: “My aim is to ask the Co-op to communicate good information about the site to people, on time, that promotes the local economy and the needs of the community.
“I am very aware of concerns raised by local businesses about new competition.
“The Co-op has held meetings like this elsewhere in East Anglia and they tell me they have been able to reach constructive accommodation with other traders close by.”
She said residents contacted her about this issue, so she arranged an opportunity for people to hear first-hand about potential plans.
At the meeting, people will be able to ask questions of the East of England Co-Operative and local town and district councillors.
Mrs Smith will act as chairman.
At the meeting the practicalities of what Co-op bosses want to do with the site will be discussed, and people can find out more about what the planning steps involving Broadland District Council would involve.
The Beehive pub called last orders in January, to the dismay of regulars who have frequented it for more than 30 years.
Speaking after news of the pub’s closure was revealed in January, Sprowston man Paul Durrant said it was a blow for the town - which has a population of around 15,000 people.
The 57-year-old, who had been a regular at the Beehive for years, said: “We don’t want to see the place go, it is terrible news for the area - we can’t afford to keep losing community pubs.”
The Greene King-owned pub was closed in March 2012 but was reopened under new management in May the same year.
A spokesman for the East of England Co-operative confirm that contracts had been exchanged on The Beehive pub in Sprowston, and that plans for its “new community food store” would be announced in the near future.