Investors sought to kick-start backpackers’ hostel in Norwich

The team behind Norwich's first backpackers' hostel have made an appeal for investors to come forward to kick-start the project – but still hope to start building work this year.

As reported, bosses hoped to start work last year to turn the former Ferry Boat pub into a backpackers' hostel, after plans were given the go-ahead by city councillors.

The former King Street pub, which is a grade II-listed building, is set to be turned into a 200-bed hostel by Alister Borthwick and his son Jason, who created the award-winning Deepdale Farm campsite on the north Norfolk coast.

The team hopes to fund the project by offering shares, rather than with a bank loan, and proposes offering shares for �1,000 each with any one customer or business contact allowed to buy up to 100 shares, equalling �100,000.

Jason Borthwick, who is the project developer, said: 'Assuming all the funding discussions go well and we get lots of investment enquiries then we hope to start building later in the year for opening late in 2013.

'We have confirmation from the planners that the pre-construction conditions are signed off now, so that is one less hurdle. Our piling design will go to the county council archaeological officer shortly and we'll await their sign off. We are near completing a re-price in light of the nasty price increases over the last year for items like steel and general building materials.

'If everything comes together then the timetable for opening in 2013 should work.'

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The former pub, near the Riverside complex, has been empty for about six years, and the owners had hoped that the hostel would be open by this month in time to host the European Hostel Conference.

The Borthwicks plan to turn the building into an eco-friendly hostel with cycle and canoe hire and a cafe and tourist information centre.

The main pub will not change much with the downstairs front bar set to become a real ale appreciation shop/bar, selling off-sales with a few beers on tap and the upstairs remaining a flat for tenants.

Potential investors are asked to fill out the form online at:

Have your plans for a project in the city been delayed? Call reporter David Bale on 01603 772427 or email

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