Wetherspoon’s not interested in North Walsham’s Black Swan
PUBLISHED: 10:00 06 November 2014 | UPDATED: 07:19 07 November 2014
Archant Norfolk 2014
Hopes that JD Wetherspoon might abandon its North Walsham council office bid and take on the town centre Black Swan pub instead have been dashed.
The national pub giant, which wants to buy the New Road offices building from North Norfolk District Council and turn it into a pub and restaurant, is not interested in the Black Swan, which has had a history of opening and closing in recent years.
A Wetherspoon’s spokesman said this week that they had not considered the pub. And he added: “At this stage we are only interested in the council building.”
District councillor Peter Moore told Monday’s cabinet meeting that he thought the Black Swan might be an alternative to the council offices site, which is home to North Walsham Town Council, Citizens Advice Bureau, North Norfolk Community Transport Association and North Walsham and District Historical Society.
Last year the Black Swan, owned by Enterprise Inns, was closed between April and August. It shut again at the end of the summer and re-opened about three weeks ago.
Wetherspoon’s wants to invest £1.6m developing the council offices and says its venture would create up to 50 jobs.
Cabinet members agreed to start sale negotiations: “subject to being satisfied that JD Wetherspoon has given reasonable consideration to other potential investment opportunities in the town”, and to talk to the groups occupying the building.
Rhodri Oliver, deputy leader of the council, said he thought the scheme would be a “superb outcome” for the town which could attract other development, helping to rejuvenate the struggling high street.
But North Walsham district councillor Ann Moore warned that 20pc of businesses in the town centre sold food or drink, compared to a national average of 12pc.
She feared the 50 jobs created by Wetherspoon’s could be lost among these small businesses if the giant’s arrival forced them to close.