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Bid to turn part of Norwich pub into flats sparks concern over long-term future

PUBLISHED: 07:39 17 October 2018 | UPDATED: 14:33 17 October 2018

The Garden House in Pembroke Road closed on Sunday. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The Garden House in Pembroke Road closed on Sunday. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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Customers at a Norwich pub which is changing hands could find there’s less space for them to use under the new management - because plans have been lodged to convert part of it into a flat.

Paul Neale, former Green city councillor. Pic: Norwich Green Party.Paul Neale, former Green city councillor. Pic: Norwich Green Party.

The Garden House, in the city’s Golden Triangle, closed on Sunday after Enterprise Inns (EI) told landlord Oscar Gerdes it would be not be renewing his lease.

The Pembroke Road pub is being taken over by Craft Union Pub Company, part of the EI group, but an application has been lodged with Norwich City Council which would see some of the space currently used by customers disappear.

Enterprise Inns has asked for permission to convert the first floor into a three bedroom flat, with a study, office and lounge.

In documents lodged with City Hall, Enterprise Inns says: “The proposals are to convert the existing first floor trading area back to a residential unit associated with the premises for use by the manager.”

They said they believed the first floor had been used for residential purposes in the past.

The move concerns the Norwich Green Party. Paul Neale, a former Green city councillor. said: “Allowing change of use would see the removal of the function room - used for regular community and private events for the past thirty years - and also the pub kitchen.

“We suspect Enterprise Inns have their eye on changing the whole pub to residential accommodation and developing its large garden for housing.

“Change of use for the first floor would be a first step to achieving this. If national chains are not interested in running these local pubs, local communities should be allowed the chance to take them on.”

A spokesman for Craft Union Pub Company has said: “We believe that the British pub plays a vital role in the lives of its customers and our philosophy at Craft Union is to put brilliant pubs back at the heart of local communities.

“We are committed to nurturing this by investing in the pub by ensuring that we retain the tradition and the heritage alongside maintaining the quality of the community offer.”

The Green Party is urging people to have their say on the planning application before Wednesday, October 24.

It can be found by visiting https://planning.norwich.gov.uk/online-applications and typing reference number 18/01348/U

MORE: Thousands sign petition to save the Brickmakers pub

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