Number 12 pub in Norwich to be put up for sale if community fails to protect it in six weeks

Number 12 in Farmers Avenue. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Number 12 in Farmers Avenue. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016

A countdown has been triggered for the community to safeguard the future of the Number 12 pub in Norwich after Enterprise Inns announced their intention to offload it.

The pub at the top of Farmers Avenue was listed as an asset of community value in December 2015 after the Norwich and Norfolk branch of Camra nominated it to Norwich City Council.

A moratorium period has now begun, meaning prospective community groups have six weeks to express an interest in taking the pub on.

The Norwich and Norfolk branch of Camra said it was informed of the development last week, and it was urging any members of the public or community groups to bid for ownership of the pub, which dates back around 250 years.

Neil Bowers, pub protection officer with Norwich and Norfolk Camra, said it would be 'a shame' if the pub were to remain closed.

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'There is a high risk given its location that this could be given permission for flats,' he said. 'With it being in close proximity to the new Castle Mall dining project, the Castle Gardens, and offices around the area, this pub has good potential in the right hands to be a successful pub again.

'It was a popular pub and was well used.'

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One of the previous leaseholders at Number 12 left towards the end of 2015 because Enterprise was not prepared to dispose of the pub.

Richard Elkin took over the pub in February 2013 and had been prepared to buy it outright. Although it was his first role in the licensed trade, his first year in business saw turnover go up by about 50pc.

But he said the terms of his lease from Enterprise Inns left him with no choice but to move on.

'It's impossible to make money under the terms of a lease such as the one I have,' he said at the time. 'I've asked Enterprise on several occasions if they would sell me the lease, but their position is that it's not on their list of pubs they want to dispose of.'

If anyone wishes to be considered as a buyer, contact Caroline Dodden at Alternatively, so via Mr Bowers at

Enterprise Inns has been approached for comment.

History of Number 12

The building, in Farmers Avenue, is thought to be around 250 years old, and was known as the Plough and Horses up until 1830.

Near to Norwich Castle, it is said to have been a prime spot for people to watch public hangings there. The pub was renamed as the Plough up to 1973, when it became La Rouen.

It closed in 1995 due to damage to its foundations caused by the adjacent Castle Mall development.

It was offered for sale in 1997 and reopened in 2000 when the name changed slightly to Le Rouen. It became Number 12 in 2008, and underwent a complete refurbishment.

Russell Evans, now chairman of Bullards, was one of the licensees who took on Number 12 in January 2016, and closed the doors in may, citing the impact of nearby roadworks on the business.

'It was a combination of factors to why we weren't getting the customers,' he said at the time.

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