Fat Cat and no Canaries - city pub denied in bid to open early on Derby Day
PUBLISHED: 16:51 21 January 2019
A popular pub for Norwich City fans has been denied in its bid to open early on the day of the East Anglian derby.
The Fat Cat and Canary, on Thorpe Road, is currently permitted to serve alcohol from 12pm on Sundays - the very same time the Championship match between City and Paul Lambert’s Ipswich Town on February 10 is due to kick-off.
The pub had applied to Norwich City Council for permission to begin serving two hours earlier to allow Canaries fans to enjoy pre-match drinks, but faced opposition from the police.
Christian Hodgkinson, pub landlord, appealed this, but a sub-committee of City Hall’s licensing committee backed the police and refused to grant the permission.
After the hearing Mr Hodgkinson said: “Obviously, I’m disappointed, but we were given ample opportunity to have our say and have to respect the decision.
“All our points were considered and were listen to, which we appreciate and we will still be able to open at 12pm and show the game - which hopefully Norwich will win.”
The decision was based on the view of the police that in the past, the pub had become a “flashpoint” for conflict between fans, with Ipswich Town fans tending to frequent the nearby Townhouse.
It was argued that given both the pub’s location and its name, it was prone to become a focal point for trouble ahead of the game and that as a result there would be police presence there on match day regardless.
In a segment of the meeting held behind closed doors, sub-committee members were shown footage of a clash between two sets of supporters in the area two years ago, while anecdotal evidence from police inspector Darren Brooks on 2018’s derby was also heard.
Michelle Bartram, licensing officer for Norfolk Police said: “I really wish there was a way we could not object to the application as in my 10 years in this role I have never encountered any difficulty with the running of this pub. However, I can not change my mind.”
City councillor David Fullman, said: “I am considerably impressed with the way the pub has treated this matter and should there ever be another derby I hope we can resolve this issue - although judging by where both teams are there may well not be.”