December 21 2014 Latest news:
Wednesday, January 8, 2014
Families and businesses gathered to try to save a Sprowston pub from permanent closure after a new food store was announced earlier this week.
About 40 protesters attended a meeting at the Beehive pub on Monday to discuss options for saving the business and preventing the Co-operative from opening a store in the premises.
Regular Paul Durrant, who has been drinking at the Cannerby Lane pub for more than 30 years, said they would do everything they could to try to save their local.
The 57-year-old said: “We have decided to fight – we have to highlight this and get the message out there.
“Local businesses are going to suffer as soon as the new store opens.”
The community members are hoping to raise the issue at tonight’s town council meeting at the Diamond Centre on School Lane.
Mr Durrant, a handyman, said: “It’s not a done and dusted deal; there might be a chance we can save it.”
Chris Noble, councillor for the Sprowston South East ward, said he looked forward to hearing both sides of the argument at tonight’s meeting.
He said: “It was news to me yesterday evening and I was a bit surprised by the suddenness of it.
“As far as I am aware the community is planning to oppose the application and we will be mindful of their’s and other’s concerns.
“There’s always a chance – I understand that as well as a change of use, any proposal to move from a licensed premises to a retail outlet would require a planning application by the Co-operative as well as a further planning application for any building work.”
The Beehive pub closure is not on the agenda for tonight’s meeting but protesters will be given a chance to put questions to the council chairman and town clerk.
Mr Noble said: “They could get it on a future agenda for a more detailed discussion.”
It was announced on Monday that the Greene King owned Beehive pub would close on January 16.
The Co-operative confirmed they had exchanged contracts with Greene King and would be announcing the opening of a new food store in the near future. Mum-of-two Annika Skoog, 34, whose house looks over the pub garden, said she chose to move to Sprowston to benefit from its community spirit and local amenities.
The graphic designer said: “Most of us could simply not believe how something like this could go ahead without any sort of consultation or information to the local community.
“We are a family with young children and have finally managed to buy our first ever home.
“We choose this area for the community and little local shops.”
The council meeting is tonight at 7.30pm at the Diamond Centre on School Lane, Sprowston.
The Evening News has been urging people to return to pubs in our Love Your Local campaign. To see more stories, visit www.eveningnews24.co.uk/loveyourlocal