Student flats bid means another Norwich pub could be lost

The Freed Man pub, which could be converted into student accommodation. Pic: Archant Library.

The Freed Man pub, which could be converted into student accommodation. Pic: Archant Library. - Credit: Eastern Counties Newspapers

Another Norwich pub looks to have closed its doors for the final time, with plans lodged to convert it into homes for students.

Camra pub protection officer Neil Bowers. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Camra pub protection officer Neil Bowers. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016

No pints have been pulled at The Freed Man pub in west Earlham since June 2015 and developers are asking city councillors for the go-ahead to convert it.

Norwich-based developers Estateducation also want to add new buildings to create a student accommodation block, which would provide 38 bedrooms for students.

Documents lodged with the council in support of the application state that, when the property, in St Mildred's Road, was marketed last year, there was no interest from public house operators.

They state the only interest was from people looking to convert the pub.


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The developers say the design of the new buildings will reflect the current design at the University of East Anglia.

They say the existing pub building, which dates back to the 1950s, will still be prominent in the redevelopment, but will be refurbished.

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The residential units will be sub-divided into up to seven rooms around a common room, kitchen and space to relax.

And developers say that, with the site so close to the UEA campus, students could cycle or walk to the university, so there will be no spaces for cars.

Pubs which have previously vanished in the Earlham area include the Larkman, the Shoemaker and the Good Companions.

The Norwich and Norfolk branch of Camra (Campaign for Real Ale) has been trying to get threatened pubs declared as assets of community value (ACV).

That gives the local community six months in which a group could seek to buy pubs to stop them being developed for housing.

Neil Bowers, Camra's pub protection officer, said: 'I had heard rumours about The Freed Man, so we will look to get an ACV application in.

'We also intend to lodge an objection to the application.'

The Evening News has, through its Love Your Local campaign, been urging people to make more use of their local pubs, or to risk losing them forever.

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