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Norwich bar closes down

PUBLISHED: 13:28 07 January 2020 | UPDATED: 09:33 09 January 2020

Panda Bar director Samantha Elliott, pictured when the business opened in 2018. Picture: Archant

Panda Bar director Samantha Elliott, pictured when the business opened in 2018. Picture: Archant

Archant

Crippling business rates and a warm summer favouring beer gardens have been blamed for the closure of a Norwich bar.

Panda Bar in Redwell Street Norwich has closed. Picture: ArchantPanda Bar in Redwell Street Norwich has closed. Picture: Archant

Panda Bar, on Redwell Street, has shut with immediate effect, with all staff losing their jobs.

The city centre prosecco and wine bar opened in September 2018, replacing the Norwich Tap House which closed in January 2018. In a statement issued on behalf of the Sheena Ann Turner Will Trust, the landlord of Panda Bar, said: "A warm summer, favouring pubs with gardens, and a massive increase in rates, from £40,000 a year RV to £122,000 RV just made making a profit impossible. That increase translates into £56,000 a year payable in rates.

"The staff have been informed. They have lost their jobs.

"The pub will be marketed by Christies but with the burden of such high rates the owners are not optimistic of getting a new tenant.

Panda bar Credit: Steve AdamsPanda bar Credit: Steve Adams

"An appeal has been launched against the high rates but this appeal will probably take between 18 and 24 months with no guarantee of success.

"Meanwhile the business would have to keep paying the very high rates.

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"The rates for the Panda Bar are higher than similar bars in nearby Queen Street, which is are much larger and in a busier area for bars.

Panda Bar director Samantha Elliot, pictured when the business opened in 2018. Picture: ArchantPanda Bar director Samantha Elliot, pictured when the business opened in 2018. Picture: Archant

"If the rates problem could be solved the bar would open again but the new rating system makes that unlikely."

Six people are understood to have lost their jobs.

Panda Bar is not the only pub to experience problems in the city over the last six months.

In August, the Micawbers Tavern in Pottergate closed its doors, when its lease came to an end and was not renewed.

In the same month, The Mash Tun and The Gin Palace in Charing Crosss closed causing four people to lose their jobs.

At the time, the business' operations manager cited the direction of the pub industry as a contributing factor.

The site has since been split into several different business; The Strangers Tavern, a 'modern twist' on the traditional pub and Door Eighteen and The Gin Academy, which was formerly The Gin Palace, which is operating as a separate business.

Norwich City Council has been contacted for comment on business rates.

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