The Owl Sanctuary could close if £35,000 crowdfunding campaign fails

PUBLISHED: 08:33 23 February 2018 | UPDATED: 08:33 23 February 2018

The Owl Sanctuary on Timber Hill. Picture: D Faulkner

The Owl Sanctuary on Timber Hill. Picture: D Faulkner


The future of an alternative music venue in Norwich city centre has been cast in doubt for the second time in two years.

The Owl Sanctuary, on Timber Hill, has announced it will close on April 1 unless new ownership can be found with a £35,000 crowdfunding bid under way.

The bar, which hosts upcoming and local bands from the punk, metal and reggae scenes, was forced to move from its original home on Cattle Market Street in 2016 after the building was bought.

A successful crowdfunding campaign helped the venue to move to new premises and the business is hoping the same outcome can be achieved once more.

Sean O’Neill, who has run the bar since February 2017, wrote on funding website Crowdfunder: “On April 1 2018 the last remaining small, independent, DIY music venue in Norwich is scheduled to close.

“Its absence will leave a massive hole within the local scene, quite simply there is nowhere else for small up [and] coming bands to perform. Please, please, please help us save the Owl.”

He added the £35,000 target would help a co-operative to buy the lease and cover costs such as insurance and stock to get the business up and running again.

The move came after Mr O’Neill’s business partner Ben Turner announced on Facebook he would be leaving the bar which the pair have run since last year.

In a post on Facebook Mr Turner said: “Early last year Sean and I took over and although it’s been an absolute blast for me running such a popular music venue, I feel my time at The Owl has come to an end.

“Now this is where we need your help. Unfortunately my leaving triggers a situation where we need to source new people to take over and continue this iconic and valued business.”

It is understood the current landlord of the building is keen for a business to continue in the premises and would be happy for The Owl Sanctuary to remain there if the business can be sold – either to an individual or a group.

The move from Cattle Market Street to Timber Hill was overseen by former owner Dan Hawcroft who sold the business in February 2017.

To find out more about the crowdfunding campaign visit

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