Community pub set to be converted into house

Felix and Lisa Snell, who have taken on the Windmill on Knox Road.Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

Felix and Lisa Snell, who have taken on the Windmill on Knox Road.Picture by SIMON FINLAY. - Credit: Archant Norfolk

Time may have been called on a pub that was once an asset of community value.

The Windmill, on Knox Road in Norwich, was listed as an asset in February 2017, which gave it protection against development.

However last year, the owners notified the city council of their intentions to sell it, triggering a six-week period in which community groups could state their intentions to take it on as a pub.

This period has since lapsed and plans have now been lodged to turn the former Greene King pub into a two-bedroom house.

Papers submitted with the application say the site is no longer viable as a pub, a situation exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, which has seen locals across the nation miss out on months of trade.

The papers say: "The public house has been closed since February 2020 and has remained closed ever since then. A gradual decline in trade meant that the Windmill was no longer viable as a sustainable business.

"This is exacerbated by the current global Covid-19 pandemic which has significantly impacted upon the hospitality trade, due to imposed restrictions and closures, and has already impacted on the viability of public houses caused a significant number to close across the country."

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However, Richard Dixon, pubs protection officer of the Norwich and District branch of the Campaign for Real Ale, said greater effort should be made to market the site as a pub.

He said: "We will certainly be putting in an objection to the plan. The Windmill was a great community pub and should not be one that is turned into a house.

"A similar thing is happening at the William IV [on Quebec Road] so losing two pubs so close to one another would be terrible for the area - you don't really have much else near there.

"It's a very residential area so should be enough housing to sustain a pub, but without it there's not really anything left between the Heartsease and the bottom of Kett's Hill.

"If somebody wants to be rid of it [The Windmill] they should market it as a pub first."

Norwich City Council will consider the application in due course