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Popular city bar gets green light for ambitious expansion plan

PUBLISHED: 15:11 22 August 2019 | UPDATED: 15:50 22 August 2019

Gonzo's Tea Rooms in Norwich has been given permission to expand Picture : ANTONY KELLY

Gonzo's Tea Rooms in Norwich has been given permission to expand Picture : ANTONY KELLY

A popular city centre bar has been given the green light to expand - but its owners are remaining tight-lipped over the finer details.

Gonzo's Tea Rooms, on London Street, has earmarked former offices in its building to provide something new in its venue and lodged an application with Norwich City Council to use it as a drinking establishment.

And in the same week the owners received the sad news of the death of their beloved pug Gonzo - after whom the venue is named - they also received better news that their bid had been approved.

Officers at Norwich City Council have used delegated powers to approve the scheme, which will see renovations done inside the building and the bar using its first floor for the first time.

Bradley Baxter, Gonzo's co-owner, said: "We are delighted to have received permission, but we are not ready to announce exactly what is happening yet.

"Exciting things are happening though."

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Mr Baxter, who also runs Bermuda Bob's rum bar on Timber Hill, added that the first floor room would be given a new name, which is yet to be finalised.

Currently, the venue operates on the ground floor of the building as a bar and restaurant, with stairs leading to an open-air roof terrace.

The application sets out use of the first floor, with its offering set to include live music, dance performances and films.

However, while the plans have been given the green light, concerns from the council's environmental health team and the neighbouring OPEN Youth Trust have seen a number of conditions set.

Concerned were expressed that noise from the new part of the venue would disrupt mental health treatment and counselling carried out by the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust at OPEN during the day.

A comment on the application from OPEN said the plan would run the risk of having "a seriously damaging effect on the provision of critical mental health care for young people in Norwich".

As a result, the premises will not be permitted to play any amplified music between 3.30am and 6pm Monday to Friday.

The venue will also be restricted from playing music beyond 4am on Saturday mornings and 3.30am on Sunday mornings.

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