Norwich pub allowed to reopen after licensing u-turn
- Credit: Sonya Duncan
The owner of a tiny city pub has spoken of her relief after learning she will be able to seat extra customers outside after all.
Aey Allen, who owns The Vine Thai in Dove Street, had originally hoped to open for the first time in 2021 last Thursday, and in anticipation had asked Norwich City Council for permission to add additional outdoor seating outside a neighbouring sports shop.
However, the re-opening had to be postponed after Norfolk Constabulary's traffic management officer raised fears over whether there was enough space was for emergency vehicles to pass.
Despite originally being told she needed to leave 1.5m of space for pedestrians and wheelchair users to pass through, her bid was rejected as regulations state a 3.7m gap must be maintained for emergency vehicle access.
Mrs Allen felt this was unfair, and was left with the "very difficult" job of informing her staff that they wouldn't be able to return to work as planned.
But now they can, after a traffic management officer visited the site and gave the go-ahead for her to put out the extra seating she needs.
And a spokesman for Norwich City Council has confirmed that after the agreement was reached, should no objections be lodged the licence would be granted.
Mrs Allen said: "If everything is okay it [the licence] should be granted and I am getting ready to open on Wednesday now. Hopefully, that will be it."
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When the restaurant opens at 11am on Wednesday, it will have seven outdoor tables.
The extra seating capacity means Mrs Allen will be able to afford the costs of operating, whereas the two tables she had before would have seen her lose money if she had opened.
She thanked community spirit and the support of Norwich CAMRA and others online for being in her corner.
She said: "There were so many comments. And on the post when I said we could reopen there were so many positive comments and people telling me 'good luck'.
"I think when it's just my voice it's not enough, but when many people talk about it it does more. I can't thank them enough."