Norwich’s Bell Hotel to get bigger after expansion gets go-ahead

The Bell Hotel and Santander bank in Norwich.PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

The Bell Hotel and Santander bank in Norwich.PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY - Credit: SIMON FINLAY

One of Norwich's most popular pubs is to get even bigger, after plans for it to expand into nearby empty offices were given the go-ahead.

JD Wetherspoon had asked Norwich City Council for permission to create the extension to The Bell Hotel, in Orford Hill, in the city centre.

The pub chain had sought approval to extend the floorspace for drinkers into empty offices above the Santander bank - and officers at City Hall have just agreed to grant permission.

Documents lodged with the council stated that JD Wetherspoon was ready to invest a 'considerable sum' in the repair, refurbishment and refitting of the building.

The documents stated: 'The proposals would also potentially provide additional employment opportunities whilst attracting more visitors to Norwich.


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The application also proposed making changes to the pub's current beer garden, including making it more accessible for disabled people.

Eddie Gershon, spokesman for JD Wetherspoon, said: 'We are very keen to extend and create an even better pub for our customers.'

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Parts of the Bell Hotel are believed to date back to the 15th century.

It has been known as the Bell Hotel or the Blue Bell since at least 1696 and at one point in the 18th century was renowned for hosting cockfighting.

In the 1750s it was a meeting point for the Hellfire Club, while during the Second World War it was the headquarters for the American Women's Army Air Corps.

After a spell of being shut, it re-opened in 1993, becoming the first JD Wetherspoon venue in Norwich.

Through our Love Your Local campaign, the Norwich Evening News has been urging people to use the city's pubs or risk them joining those who have closed their doors permanently.

• Do you have a story about a pub? Call reporter Dan Grimmer on 01603 772375 or email dan.grimmer@archant.co.uk

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