Former pub could be demolished to make way for housing

The Royal Oak, pub of the week, North Walsham Road, Sprowston. Picture: Denise Bradley

The former Royal Oak pub on North Walsham Road in Sprowston, which is set to be demolished to make way four housing. Picture: Denise Bradley - Credit: Archant copyright 2011

A former pub in a town on the edge of Norwich is set to be demolished to make way for homes.

On Thursday, Broadland Council's planning committee will consider a bid to demolish the former Royal Oak on North Walsham Road in Sprowston, which will see eight homes built in its place.

Pints have not been pulled at the former local for eight years, with it closing down as a pub back in 2012.

Since then it has most recently operated as offices, but in November 2019 the London-based company occupying it opted to close its Norwich branch and it has been vacant ever since.

The property was marketed as office space by Arnolds Keys earlier this year,  but after failing to attract any firm interest a bid was instead launched to demolish the building and replace it with a development of eight homes.

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If these plans are approved, all eight new homes would have three bedrooms, with parking for two cars at each property.

In a report to committee members, officers have recommended the scheme gets the go-ahead, saying the benefits it would bring would outweigh the loss of employment space that would come with its demolition.

The former Royal Oak pub as the office of Eastern Business Services. 

The former Royal Oak pub as the office of Eastern Business Services. - Credit: Google

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The report says: "The site is located in a sustainable location within the settlement limits of Sprowston, close to Norwich city centre, all services, facilities and public transport.

"The loss of an employment site is balanced against the benefits that the development will have for the appearance of the site, the provision of dwellings in a sustainable location and improved relationship with residential neighbours as a result of the commercial uses being replaced."

Sprowston Town Council, while not formally objecting to the plans, did raise concerns about the loss of an employment site, while also requesting that the historic pub sign be preserved as part of the development.

As a pub, the site dates back to 1789, though it was demolished in 1858 and rebuilt seven years later.

In 2003 there were plans the convert it into a veterinary surgery, which did not go ahead. It underwent a refurbishment in October 2011, but closed less than a year later in August 2012.

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