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Remote pub’s hopes of reopening as bistro dashed despite late compromise bid

PUBLISHED: 06:30 23 July 2020 | UPDATED: 08:40 23 July 2020

The Berney Arms pub, one of Norfolk's most isolated pubs.

Picture: James Bass

The Berney Arms pub, one of Norfolk's most isolated pubs. Picture: James Bass

Archant Norfolk © 2015

A remote Broads pub’s hopes of reopening as a bistro have been dashed - despite last ditch attempts to reach compromises with objectors.

The part of the Berney Arms pub which will be used as a new bistro if plans are approved. Picture: William HollocksThe part of the Berney Arms pub which will be used as a new bistro if plans are approved. Picture: William Hollocks

Olive Court Properties Ltd had applied to Broadland District Council for a premises licence to reopen part of the Berney Arms - believed to be Norfolk’s most remote pub - as a bistro.

The vision for the former pub would have seen it serving breakfasts, meals and drinks to boat-users and walkers and hosting occasional events including boat regattas and live music.

However, after concerns were raised about noise disruption from the RSPB and further objection from the Broads Authority, the application was refused.

At a licensing committee held remotely on Wednesday, David Tarry, on behalf of the pub’s owners, had pitched a number of compromises in hopes of persuading the committee to grant the application.

These included pledging that no live music would be held outdoors beyond 10pm, that alcohol would not be sold until 11am and pulling in the proposed opening hours.

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He said: “The Berney Arms has had a very long history and has been shut as a pub for five years ago. An application was made to turn it into a house, but the owners were told it had to stay a pub.

“The idea would for it to be almost a half way house for boat-users and walkers - somewhere to stop and have a drink or a meal and relax.”

Most of the concerns raised were around noise levels, however, Netty Southgate, who had been due to run the venue, said: “It is going to be a bistro, not a night club.”

However, committee chairman Shelagh Gurney said that offering last minute amendments showed “a lack of advanced planning” from the applicants.

She said: “We note the site is unusual in terms of physical location and condition, being largely an open area next to a fast-flowing tidal river.

“It is the obligation of the applicant to demonstrate they have taken account of the site and necessary measures. Unfortunately, we feel there has been significant failure to provide the necessary data we need to be confident regarding noise concerns and health and safety.

“The significant last minute amendment of the application concerns the committee as it shows a lack of advanced planning.”


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