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Britannia Enterprises owes city council £16,000 in unpaid rent

Bistro Britannia Cafe at Guildhall. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

Bistro Britannia Cafe at Guildhall. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

A council is owed more than £16,000 in unpaid rent by the firm behind the now collapsed Café Britannia.

Bistro Britannia Cafe at Guildhall. Picture : ANTONY KELLYBistro Britannia Cafe at Guildhall. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

Britannia Enterprises Community Interest Company (CIC), which went into liquidation in August with more than £600,000 of debts, rented the Guildhall from Norwich City Council. It also ran the cafés at Norwich Prison, Waterloo Park and Gibraltar Gardens.

It used the historic building in the city centre for its Bistro Britannia business, but it had not paid rent to the council.

The council is unlikely to be able to get any money back as the company's accounts show it had just £9,000 of assets and £630,000 in debt.

The authority has also defended its decision to let Britannia Enterprises lease the Guildhall and Waterloo Park pavilion, where it ran Park Britannia café, without marketing the leases first.

Davina Tanner at Café Britannia. Picture: Matt Keal / mattkealphotographyDavina Tanner at Café Britannia. Picture: Matt Keal / mattkealphotography

In 2015 the city council marketed another building it owned - the Eaton Park Café - and almost 150 people came forward to run it.

However, over a year later when the city council was looking for tenants to take over Waterloo Park pavilion and the Guildhall the lease was given to Britannia in a closed process.

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The council said that the Guildhall lease was given to Britannia Enterprises by the charity HEART, which used to lease it, when it wound up in 2015.

Regarding Waterloo Park Pavilion, the council said it was "not lettable", which was why Britannia took it over.

A council spokesman said: "The pavilion had fallen into such bad disrepair over the years that it wasn't possible to rent it out."

They said there was water damage to the roof which meant they had to spend money on repairs.

The spokesman added: "Through working with an established community interest company, supported by the Department of Justice and HMP, we were able to bring a disused and at-risk building back into use.

"It also provided rehabilitation opportunities to offenders and ex-offenders."

However they said that now Britannia Enterprises had collapsed, Waterloo Park Pavilion would go out to tender to run as a cafe, as with Eaton.

Britannia Enterprises' liquidator and owner Davina Tanner have refused to comment on the liquidation.

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