Drive launched to save popular pub from closure
PUBLISHED: 06:59 06 May 2020 | UPDATED: 17:32 06 May 2020
The Walnut Tree Shades in Norwich has been a live music venue for the last 35 years, but mounting debts caused by coronavirus lockdown mean it could be forced to close.
The city centre pub, located in the Old Post Office Court off Gentleman’s Walk, has been run by couple Claire and Dale Brooks since 2010 and over the last decade they have championed local musicians with regular live bands and open mic nights.
On January 31, the couple negotiated a new five year contract with Ei Publican Partnerships and were feeling excited about the future but they have now been left with no income due to coronavirus.
Although they have received a £25,000 grant from the government they still have to pay rent to Ei, although this has been deferred “for the foreseeable future”, so by the end of June there will be nothing left.
To keep the pub afloat for an extra three months once the money runs out, they have launched a Crowdfunder campaign to raise £8,000, in partnership with the Music Venue Trust who works with grassroots venues across the UK.
They are the second venue in the city to team up with the Trust as The Brickmakers in Sprowston Road, also operated by Ei, are hoping to raise £8,000 too.
Mrs Brooks, 42, said: “After signing the new tenancy agreement we were over the moon and had lots of plans and ideas and had a consistently good level of trade.
“Our plans have now been wiped out and I can’t see pubs opening in June and would be surprised if it is before Christmas which is quite scary.”
An Ei Publican Partnerships spokesperson said: “Our regional manager continues to communicate directly with our publican at the Walnut Tree Shades and has advised that rent and charges continue to be deferred for the foreseeable future.
“Our regional manageris continuing to work with them in order to best provide the right level of support and assistance when the industry is permitted to reopen for business.”
You can donate at crowdfunder.co.uk/walnuttreeshades
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