Communities rally together to save local Norwich pubs

City Councillor Lucy Galvin at the closed Marlpit pub, which residents and councillors want to get listed as a community asset. Picture: Denise Bradley City Councillor Lucy Galvin at the closed Marlpit pub, which residents and councillors want to get listed as a community asset. Picture: Denise Bradley

Tuesday, May 27, 2014
9:45 AM

Locals have launched a bid tosafeguard the future of two pubs in the Norwich area.

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Attempts are being made to get the Marlpit in Hellesdon Road in the city and the Gordon in Thorpe St Andrew listed as community assets.

If successful, it would mean the owners would not be able to sell the pubs without giving the community:

■ The chance to bid for them

■ Six months to raise the cash.

People who live near the closed Marlpit are leading the charge to retain their local, while Thorpe St Andrew town council is behind the bid to safeguard the Gordon, which is trading but up for sale. The town council is even looking into moving its offices into the pub to make it more of a community facility.

The Marlpit shut earlier this month and its owner Enterprise Inns is looking for a new tenant to take it on.

But in the meantime Green city councillors are working with the group Marlpit Pub Supporters to get it listed as an asset of community value by Norwich City Council.

Wensum city councillor Lucy Galvin said pubs improved the wellbeing of people in the area and provided a meeting space for community groups and charities.

She said: “It’s good news that Enterprise wants to reopen it, but we still want it listed to make it clear that it’s a valued local pub.

“It’s been open 68 years and has strong community use. It’s one of the only pubs left in the area.

“It has seven darts teams with eight people per team, playing through the week. It has two pool teams and one cribbage team, as well as a 12-strong bowls team. The bowls team plays on the pub’s own outdoor bowling green.”

She added: “The pub is a part of the area’s heritage. A grade two listed building, it is the original Georgian farmhouse which pre-dated the housing estates built since the war around it.”

The chairman of the supporters’ group is Sue King, who managed the pub for six years before leaving this month.

She said: “So many people asked me to stay on, but I could not afford to. I am hoping it will be able to reopen.”

A spokesman for Enterprise Inns said: “We are currently in discussions with interested parties and aim to have the Marlpit open and trading as soon as possible.”

At the Gordon, on Gordon Avenue, landlord Josh Dickens said he was in favour of the Punch Taverns-owned pub, which was built in 1934, being protected.

John Ward, Thorpe St Andrew councillor and town mayor, said: “It’s a lovely old 1930s public house and we have lost a lot of pubs in the area. We wouldn’t like to see another one go.

“And there may be the chance of also moving the council office on to that site. There’s quite a lot of support within the council for that because it could be opened up as a community facility and used for other things too.”

A spokeswoman for Broadland council confirmed the application was under review by the head of democratic services and monitoring officer.

■ Have you got a story about a Norwich area pub? Email david.bale2@archant.co.uk

4 comments

  • Sorry but that just isn't true. Many pubs, especially those owned by pubcos Enterprise and Punch, are paying sky-high prices for their beer (often nearly double the free-market price) because the pubcos borrowed far too much money in the boom, and are now desperately trying to get as much money as possible out of their tenants. These pubs would almost all be perfectly viable if sold by the pubcos to a free-of-tie operator who could buy his beer in the market. And listing as an Asset of Community Value doesn't force the current landlord to continue trading, just allows the community a chance to bid for the pub if it does go up for sale (to stop dodgy deals with supermarkets etc. behind everyone's backs). The problem is that once pubs like these close, in suburban areas, you'll never get them back - Tescos will never sell, and just try building a new pub or converting another building in a residential area!

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Ian S

    Tuesday, May 27, 2014

  • It's a completely rubbish idea, and you clearly haven't thought it through. If a pub is going to close, that's because tehere almost certainly isn't enough business to keep it going. If you try to force the owner to keep it going, you're depriving other, better pubs of what small amound of business that pub gets - business that could make the difference between a better pub becoming viable and that better pub being threatened with closure as well. You can't force pubs to stay open if people don't want to use them. There is a sustainable nmber of pubs in this coungry, and all the evidence is that we are still far above that number in the number of pubs we currently have. Let the poor, unviable ones close, and the viable ones thrive.

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    Terry Collmann

    Tuesday, May 27, 2014

  • Community assets,listed buildings since when are businesses that don,t show a profit viable.Thats the real world,not the Green parallel world.You voted for this lot,Luv a duck..

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    PaulH

    Tuesday, May 27, 2014

  • I am a great believer that all pubs should be either listed as a community asset or become listed buildings. What do others think ?.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    "V"

    Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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