New homes could yet be built on the site of a former pub which has become a wasteland in the almost two decades since the watering hole was controversially demolished, it has emerged.

The Earl of Leicester pub was flattened in 2005 to make way for housing but not a single brick has been laid on the fenced-off site nestled between Dereham Road and Bowthorpe Road.

Eastern Daily Press: Former Earl of Leicester pub before it was demolishedFormer Earl of Leicester pub before it was demolished (Image: Newsquest)It has become something of an eyesore blot on the local landscape with rubbish being left in and around the site where the former pub - which dated back to 1843 and survived Luftwaffe bombing raids of the Second World War - once stood.

Eastern Daily Press: Fenced off wasteland where Earl of Leicester pub once stoodFenced off wasteland where Earl of Leicester pub once stood (Image: Peter Walsh, Newsquest)But it has now emerged plans have been submitted to Norwich City Council for nine homes to be built there subject to the land meeting nutrient neutrality requirements.

A stall on housing decisions within the catchment areas of the River Wensum and the Broads has been in place since March 2022.

It was after Natural England told Norfolk councils they could not approve plans involving 'overnight accommodation' until it could be proven they would not lead to more phosphates flowing into waterways.

When nitrogen and phosphate nutrients enter water systems it can cause excessive growth of algae - known as eutrophication - which can harm habitats.

Eastern Daily Press: Wasteland where former Earl of Leicester pub once stoodWasteland where former Earl of Leicester pub once stood (Image: Peter Walsh, Newsquest)A spokesman for the city council said these issues need to be resolved first before any development of the site could potentially go ahead.

They said: “The former Earl of Leicester site is in sore need of redevelopment. 

Eastern Daily Press: Former Earl of Leicester pubFormer Earl of Leicester pub (Image: Newsquest)"We are waiting for the landowner to sign the necessary legal agreement (a section 106) which will give them access to the credits they need to offset water pollution linked to nutrient neutrality issues. 

"At this point we can consider giving the development planning consent for building to start on site.

“If consent is given we will work with the landowner to an agreed timetable of when they need to start building.”

Eastern Daily Press: Former Earl of Leicester pubFormer Earl of Leicester pub (Image: Newsquest)While the planning application is not the first to be lodged at the site in recent times - there have been at least two sets of plans lodged since 2007 - it at least provides the prospect of something happening sooner rather than later.

People living in the area have long-since been calling for action to be taken on the eyesore site.

Eastern Daily Press: Wasteland at former Earl of Leicester pub siteWasteland at former Earl of Leicester pub site (Image: Peter Walsh, Newsquest)Stan Jackson, 32, an office worker has lived on Dereham Road with his dog Percy for the past couple of years and said: "I think the worst thing is it's just an eyesore - a bit of wasteland.

"It would be good to have some housing there or if it was used for some other purpose.

"I think it would be positive."

Eastern Daily Press: Stan Jackson with his dog PercyStan Jackson with his dog Percy (Image: Peter Walsh, Newsquest)Mr Jackson said it would also be good to have a pub there as although there were a few in the area they were a few minutes away.

He said: "There are some really good pubs but they are the other side and there's nothing really up here.

"It's a shame, it would be good to have a pub there."

Tom Huckle, 39, a property maintenance co-ordinator who lives with his partner Sally Dix, 36, and two children on Dereham Road, opposite the former pub, said: "We've been here for a year-and-a-half now and we wouldn't have wanted it (the pub) to be knocked down.

"It's such a shame.

"I know the pub trade is struggling and its not easy now for pubs staying but it feels its a shame not having a pub here.

"Something is missing.

"It's an eyesore and something needs to be done with it."

Meanwhile a 47-year-old woman living on Bowthorpe Road for the past 10 years, who wanted to remain anonymous, said: "I would be happy with anything. It's just a mess.

"Anything would be better than a wasteland site."


The Earl of Leicester pub, which stood in Dereham Road, dated back to 1843 and was one of five pubs owned by the Dotheredge Brewery, in Coslany Street.

Eastern Daily Press: An image of the Earl of Leicester pub as it once lookedAn image of the Earl of Leicester pub as it once looked (Image: Newsquest)It survived the Luftwaffe's bombing raids during the Second World War, but, in 2005, Norwich City Council's planning committee granted permission for Citygate developers to build 16 flats on the site.

The bulldozers quickly moved in to knock down the pub, after a last-ditch effort to get English Heritage to list the building failed.

By March 2007 planning permission was granted to Brundall-based East Anglian Property Ltd for 12 flats to be built on the site.

But work on those flats never started.