Hope for Owl Sanctuary revival after final weekend

The Owl Santuary pub and music venue to close. Dan Hawcroft.Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The Owl Santuary pub and music venue to close. Dan Hawcroft.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

As treasured music venue The Owl Sanctuary closes its doors for the final time, hope remains as talks are underway for a new home.

After an 'overwhelming' final weekend, owner Dan Hawcroft has revealed plans are already in motion to revive the venue in a new city centre location.

The team are also looking to secure the future of The Norwich Soup Movement, which had used a room in the Cattle Market Street building, and hope to find them a home in the market.

A petition launched to save the pub brought in more than 8,500 supporters, and gigs have been at capacity for the final weekend.

'I think we owe it to the people that come here and the people of Norwich, because there is nothing like this in the city,' said Mr Hawcroft.

'It is such a shame it is having to close just because of money. This building is a complete fit for what we do. It was derelict before we moved it, and I have a horrible feeling it is going to sit empty again. It is such a beautiful building.'

The Soup Movement will keep operating while they find a new space, and have the support of Norwich South MP Clive Lewis.

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'We are trying to see if the soup movement could have one of the market stalls,' added Mr Hawcroft. 'It is all distributed in front of Next, so it would make so much sense to have a low demand market stall.

'I am very much of the belief we should all be helping the homeless community, so hopefully that will come off.

'They are still taking in donations and operating, but it is a loss for them.'

The Owl Sanctuary held its last gig on Sunday night after it was bought by Richard Pratt, who also owns the adjacent building occupied by Warings furniture shop and cafe.

Since the announcement, supporters have rallied behind them, coupled with a great deal of interest from the community at large.

'The last weekend has been crazy, but completely overwhelming,' Mr Hawcroft said. 'We have been sold out and at capacity.

'One place we are looking at which is top of our list is in the city centre. When we set up it was about community, strength and unity in the music scene, and it has been shown that exists.

'The football club have even approached us and said they do a lot of work in the community and wanted to speak to us about having us there. It was a very flattering gesture, but we wanted to concentrate on getting our own venue.'

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