Closure of pub was ‘death knell’ for village, as search goes on for new landlord

PUBLISHED: 15:22 21 January 2020 | UPDATED: 15:39 21 January 2020

Clint Smith and Shirley Rogers, who left the Dog Inn in December. Byline: Sonya Duncan

Clint Smith and Shirley Rogers, who left the Dog Inn in December. Byline: Sonya Duncan

The closure of a pub has been described as a “death knell” for a growing village, as the search continues to find a new landlord.

The Dog Inn, on Holt Road in Horsford. Photo: Lauren CopeThe Dog Inn, on Holt Road in Horsford. Photo: Lauren Cope

The Dog Inn at Horsford closed in December when landlords Clint Smith and Shirley Rogers started a new chapter in Spain after nine years behind the bar.

It left the village, which is earmarked to welcome hundreds of homes, without a pub, with the Brickmakers, on Holt Road, having also closed.

The Dog Inn, also on Holt Road, has since stood empty, and the lease is now being advertised by Sidney Phillips, on behalf of the Wellington Pub Company.

Trevor Lunnon, a property manager with Criterion Asset Management, which works for the pub company, said there had been interest.

"We have had a little bit of interest," he said, "but nothing advanced at this stage in time. We have had a number of viewings and we are talking to people."

The advert for the pub says future tenants could "further trade" by serving food and continuing the tearoom which Mr Smith and Ms Rogers opened in an adjacent outbuilding.

Dave Thomas, district councillor for Horsford on Broadland District Council, said while there was a popular social club in Horsford, village pubs were key for "community cohesion and bringing people together".

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"They can be the heart of a community and with over 4,000 people in the village its frustrating there isn't one," he said. "The loss of the Dog pub was almost a death knell for the village and its very sad to see the Brickmakers just sitting there."

He said surrounding areas - including Drayton, Thorpe Marriott, Hellesdon and Felthorpe - had pubs, and that there was space for one in Horsford.

And fellow district councillor Lisa Starling said it was a shame that a village "growing so fast through housing development" was losing places where people could socialise.

"I've lived in Horsford for 12 years and been part of the village for 25, back when there were three pubs," she said.

She said the village was strong in community spirit, praising the school, church, children's groups and social club, but said having a "warm, friendly, reasonably priced and welcoming" pub was important, adding that she hoped one could soon reopen.

Ian Stamp, chairman and pub campaigns coordinator at Norwich and Norfolk CAMRA, echoed their calls, saying he hoped to see it open its doors.

We contacted the Wellington Pub Company.

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