Fresh bid lodged to turn historic former city pub into flats

The former Ketts Tavern which could be turned into housing. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The former Ketts Tavern which could be turned into housing. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016

A former pub that was once named after one of Norwich’s most revered historical figures has moved a step closer to being turned into housing.

The former Kett’s Tavern, on Kett’s Hill in the city, closed in 2016 following a short-lived revamp into a craft beer bar and smokehouse called Virtuoso - and has been vacant ever since.

Two separate plans to convert it into housing were both given the green light by Norwich City Council but have to date never materialised.

However, former pub landlord Kevin Hopkins has now lodged a third, slightly altered, bid to the city council seeking permission to turn it into two self-contained flats.

It comes almost two years after the city council granted permission to a similar scheme which would have seen part of the building converted into a single flat.

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And it comes four years after a campaign to save the pub itself failed, despite it being successfully listed as an asset of community value.

Speaking at the time, Mr Hopkins said the decision to close it was not one he had taken lightly, having previously attempted to market it for more than £300,000.

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Speaking to this newspaper in 2016, he said: “We would like to see it continue as a pub, but if no-one sees the pub as a viable business, then I am left with no choice but to look for an alternative for the building.

“Unfortunately it does get to the point were we are working so hard for a small income - that is the difficulty all pubs are in.”

The campaign to preserve it was led at the time but the Norwich and Norfolk Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) which was able to see it listed as an asset of community value - a status which expires next year.

However, with this fresh bid to convert it into flats being lodged, hope of pints ever being pulled there again are slim at best.

According to Norfolk Pubs, the venue dates back to the 1800s and was originally known as Kett’s Castle. It was damaged by bombs during the Second World War and was re-named the Old Bill in 1976 - before restoring its nod to Robert Kett from around 1980.

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