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One pub left for Sprowston as Beehive set to become Co-operative store

PUBLISHED: 09:16 06 January 2014 | UPDATED: 09:16 06 January 2014

The Beehive pub at Sprowston. Picture: Denise Bradley

The Beehive pub at Sprowston. Picture: Denise Bradley

Archant

A town of 15,000 people will be left with just one pub when plans to close the Beehive in Sprowston go ahead later this month.

The community pub is set to be replaced with a Cooperative food store after it closes on January 17, leaving the area with just one pub - the Blue Boar. Patrons have complained they will be left with nowhere to go after the Cannerby Lane local closes down.

Paul Durrant, 57, is a regular who has been drinking in the Beehive for more than 30 years, and said he knew people who had been going there for even longer.

He 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.”

Mr Durrant, who lives on Cromwell Road, 200 yards from the Beehive, said he found out just days ago that he was to lose his local.

“I drink there several times a week but didn’t find out until New Year’s Day,” said the handyman. “There’s a community of people down there, it’s where I meet to socialise with my friends.”

June Hunt, town clerk at Sprowston Town Council, said they were unaware of the closure and takeover by Coop until they were informed by the Evening News. She said: “As a general rule we are always concerned when the town loses community facilities.”

Mr Durrant said he hoped to be able to achieve a stay of execution to enable the community to buy the building and maintain its current use. He plans to raise the issue at Wednesday’s Broadland District Council meeting.

Ann Kellett, 61, Falcon Road, Sprowston, said her husband often went to the pub. She said: “I know the people that go there are gutted - it doesn’t bother me what it turns into, it’s just sad another pub will be going.”

Campaign For Real Ale spokesman Neil Walker said planning loopholes made it easy for valued community pubs to be sold off and converted to supermarkets. He said: “CAMRA is currently campaigning for these loopholes to be closed and pubs to be put into their own building use class, making it much harder for any would-be developers.”

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, said: “We can confirm that we have exchanged contracts on The Beehive pub in Sprowston. We will announce our plans for a new community food store in the near future.”

■ Do you love your local? Email David Bale on david.bale2@archant.co.uk

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