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Norfolk pubs react to news they could reopen this month

PUBLISHED: 06:00 09 June 2020 | UPDATED: 15:49 09 June 2020

Russell Evans (left) and Greg Adjemian (right) on reopening in June. Picture: Getty/Archant

Russell Evans (left) and Greg Adjemian (right) on reopening in June. Picture: Getty/Archant

Getty/Archant

Landlords have welcomed the news that pubs may be allowed to open before July 4 – but warned work still needs to be done before they can welcome drinkers back to the bar.

Greg Adyemian who owns the Ingham Swan with Dan Smith talks to Eleanor Pringle about the pubs future.
Picture: Nick ButcherGreg Adyemian who owns the Ingham Swan with Dan Smith talks to Eleanor Pringle about the pubs future. Picture: Nick Butcher

Landlords have welcomed the news that pubs may be allowed to open before July 4 – but warned work still needs to be done before they can welcome drinkers back to the bar.

The government has hinted that pubs could now open on June 22.

The prime minister was reportedly told that 3.5 million jobs could be at stake if the sector does not get back on its feet, with chancellor Rishi Sunak and business secretary Alok Sharma instructed to outline blueprints which could stem the job loss flow.

Russell Evans, of Bullards. Pic: ArchantRussell Evans, of Bullards. Pic: Archant

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As well as opening earlier than expected it has been revealed that plans are in motion to make planning approval decisions quicker, meaning they would take days instead of weeks to go through.

The move is intended to speed up the process for bars and restaurants applying to put tables and chairs on to the street outside their establishment.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak accidentally voted against the government as the flagship Agriculture Bill cleared the Commons via a remote Chancellor Rishi Sunak accidentally voted against the government as the flagship Agriculture Bill cleared the Commons via a remote "virtual" vote. Picture: PA Wire

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On top of this communities secretary Robert Jenrick is set to increase the amount of time pubs can put up marquees from 28 days to 56.

This was welcomed by one Norwich pub – though the landlord said these promises need to be made good.

Russell Evans, who runs Bullard’s pub The Ten Bells, said he would question reopening if the street outside his establishment is not pedestrianised.

Businesses along the street have launched a petition to ban cars down the road - though as of yet no decision has been made.

“I don’t think it would work to have tables out just on the pavements as people wouldn’t be able to get past,” he said. “If we can just put some tables and chairs in the street it would solve that. It’s all well and good that this being said, but we need some movement on it – and fast – if we’re going to reopen by June 22.”

Greg Adjemian, co-founder of G&D Ventures, which runs The Ingham Swan in north Norfolk, The Wildebeest at Stoke Holy Cross, and The Warwick Street Social in Norwich, said he was lucky that his pubs all had outdoor space.

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“I think we’re still working to the July 4 deadline,” he said. “But of course we’d like to open as soon as it’s safe to do so, so we’re waiting on further guidance from the government.

“Our estimations are that it will take us about a week to open up each pub, because we’d need to look at getting outdoor cover and heaters. We’re not sure what the lead times on those are yet, but it’s something we’d need to look at given the Great British weather.”


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