Pub at heart of community gets set to close

Amanda Rose, landlady of the Red Lion which is closing at the end of January. Photo : Steve Adams

Amanda Rose, landlady of the Red Lion which is closing at the end of January. Photo : Steve Adams - Credit: Archant

A pub at the heart of a city community is due to close at the end of the month, prompting a campaign from locals to save it.

Pints will be pulled for the last time for the foreseeable future at the Red Lion on Bishopgate in Norwich on January 31, with its current tenants set to move on.

The pub building is owned by the Great Hospital Charity and until recently it was leased - but that lease expired at the end of September, with the tenants given until the end of January to vacate.

As the charity prepares to sell the pub leasehold, devoted regulars are hoping they can secure its future as a pub by having it listed as an asset of community value.

The campaign is being led by 68-year-old Pat Tyler, who has been visiting the pub since she was just five years old and it was equipped with a children's room upstairs.

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She said: "Everybody is just devastated that it is going to close - it is so much more than just a local pub. It is the centre of our little community and is used by so many different groups and clubs.

"When it closes it will have a real ripple effect on the community so we really hope that in future it can continue to be used as some kind of community facility."

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She is backed in her campaign by Richard Dixon, pubs protection manager for the local branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra).

Mr Dixon said: "At Camra we never want to see a pub close, so I am trying really hard to support this campaign. The pub has been there since 1870 as the Red Lion alone, so it has a lot of history."

Amanda Rose, the landlady of the pub, said: "We have had a fantastic eight-and-a-half years at the pub and had fantastic customers in this time.

"For many of them it has been a real lifeline - a place where they have met people, made friends and had somewhere to go. I hope it can continue as a pub at some point in the future."

Andrew Barnes, chief executive of the Great Hospital Charity, which will continue to own the building, said: "Through its agents Brown and Co, the Great Hospital intends to market to interested purchasers very shortly a leasehold interest in the property for continued use as licenced premises.

"The Great Hospital has been anxious to assist the current licenced occupiers in the transition so that they have been able to wind down their trading in an orderly way which has minimised the impact on them of the lease coming to an end."

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