Hopes raised former pub could become community hub

The Royal Bengal restaurant. Photo: Lauren Cope

The former Royal Bengal restaurant and Viking pub. - Credit: Archant

The future of a former pub and Indian restaurant on the outskirts of Norwich will be discussed this week. 

Sprowston Town Council will consider whether the former Viking Pub and Royal Bengal Indian restaurant on Tills Road in Sprowston could become a community hub. 

The council will discuss whether there is enough community interest and if enough capital can be raised with a view to potentially purchasing the property.

It is part of the council's agenda for Wednesday evening's meeting over Zoom after the building was put on the market for £500,000 last winter

Vice-chairman of Sprowston Town Council Bill Couzens said the property is being considered as a polling station, with the nearest available building for many residents having been the cricket ground.

Bill Couzens, vice chairman of Sprowston Town Council.

Bill Couzens, vice chairman of Sprowston Town Council. - Credit: Labour Party

Mr Couzens said: "The question was floated a few months ago that 'If this building is available, would it be somewhere for a polling station, and would we want to take it on?' That's how far we got. 

"We will have to consider the implications of doing this because a lot of money is involved. We have got the Diamond Centre but it does not address the issue of a polling station.

"We used to have polling stations in schools which was ideal for parents who go to the school. In this particular part of Sprowston, there ae no other buildings suitable for polling stations."

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The council will consider whether the property should be registered as an Asset of Community Value (ACV), which would grant it protection against development.

Mr Couzens added: "It is the very, very early stages and we are not as far as a feasibility study. It is just the bare bones on the agenda." 

The former Viking Pub on Tills Road. Photo: Liz Reynolds

The former Viking Pub on Tills Road. Photo: Liz Reynolds - Credit: Eastern Counties Newspapers

Sprowston mayor John Ward said the site could function as multi-use letting rooms for various purposes.

Mr Ward said: "We have got a lot of money from new development and we are looking for somewhere on the west side of Sprowston for community use. 

"There are no community buildings on that side. The Diamond Centre is further over so there is nothing in the west. 

"I think it has definitely got possibility and it is not something I am ruling out. Let's see what happens on Wednesday." 

The project has been chaired by councillor Judy Leggett with interest already being received from various groups who would potentially like to use the building. 

Mrs Leggett said she would not comment on the plans until the council meeting has taken place this week.

The Viking Pub closed in 2007, before a bid was lodged to turn the site into the Royal Bengal Indian restaurant in 2010. 

Purchased by Sazu Miah, the restaurant was closed down in mid-2019. 

On the former restaurant, Mr Couzens said: "It was open for quite a while as a really good Indian restaurant which was used a lot by the local community.

"My wife and I used to go there regularly, and the food was excellent. It was a shame it had to close."

A planning application to convert the former pub into one house was withdrawn in September 2009 after it had originally been submitted to Broadland District Council. 

The district council then refused a revised plan for the construction of a detached house on the site in March 2010. 

And the council also had to take action after the site was targeted by vandals following the closure of the Viking Pub in 2007. 

This resulted in the authority boarding up the property temporarily. 

Sprowston Town Council's online meeting begins at 7.30pm on Wednesday.