Norwich tapas and cocktail restaurant could close as bid to turn it into home goes ahead
PUBLISHED: 14:11 20 March 2019 | UPDATED: 16:10 20 March 2019
Archant Norfolk 2015
A tapas restaurant in the city centre could soon close and become a house after its owner said a lack of passers-by and growing number of chain eateries had left it unviable.
On Tuesday, Norwich City Council approved a change of use bid from Barndeen Restaurants to turn East Twenty Six, at 26 Exchange Street, into a two or three-bed home.
In planning papers, owner Jeremy King said: “The current trading situation for independent restaurants is challenging, many have closed over the last few years within the city centre.”
He said the restaurant’s lack of roadside presence meant passing trade was “virtually nonexistent”.
“The influx in larger chain operated restaurants has greatly impacted the smaller independent businesses,” he said.
“We do not want to go down the route of closing the building and allowing it to stand empty in order to prove lack of demand at its true value, this neither benefits the building or the city.”
The restaurant shares a courtyard with sister eatery the Iron House, which would remain open.
Employees working at the restaurant can work in either, and it is proposed that the opening hours in Iron House would be extended to allow all members of staff to work there.
In a report recommending the application be approved, council officer Katherine Brumpton said planning decisions should “promote the long-term vitality and viability of centres, by allowing them to respond to rapid changes in the real and leisure industries, including allowing a suitable mixture of uses such as housing”.
And a heritage officer said the “harm caused to the special architectural and historic interest of the listed building is minimal”.
The approval follows other closures on Exchange Street over the last 18 months, including Woolf and Bird fried chicken shop, which closed in January 2018, and the E Street Smokehouse, which closed a month later.
And last week, gift shop Quest, which has been on the road for three and a half years, announced it was also closing its Exchange Street branch.
We have contacted Mr King for more.