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'The Wetherspoon question has hung over us for far too long' - D-Day for North Walsham

The former North Walsham Town Council office in New Road, which could become a Wetherspoon pub. Picture: GOOGLE STREETVIEW

The former North Walsham Town Council office in New Road, which could become a Wetherspoon pub. Picture: GOOGLE STREETVIEW

Archant

Plans for a JD Wetherspoon pub in North Walsham could be put on hold again, with the district council set to review the situation.

Three months ago, North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) said an exchange of contracts was imminent.

But the new Cabinet in charge at the council now plans to review the future of the former town council offices on New Road, which the pub chain has expressed an interest in.

A NNDC spokesman said: "No final contract has ever been signed, despite our best efforts.

"The new Cabinet has decided to look again at what the building could be used for."

Virginia Gay, cabinet member for culture and wellbeing, and ward member for North Walsham Market Cross, said: "This is an important building at the entrance to our attractive market. It's an absolutely crucial asset for north Norfolk.

"We want the best result for our town, which has great potential to become a significant destination, and its people.

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"But we have an obligation to protect the interests of all north Norfolk's council taxpayers and ensure they receive best value for their money.

"The Wetherspoon question has hung over us for far too long and that hasn't been fair on anyone.

"We are concerned for the future of this building and we will look at all possible options to make sure it no longer stands empty and unused."

Wetherspoon first proposed buying the building on New Road, which the district council owns, in 2014.

A contract for the pub chain to pursue the purchase of the site was agreed in 2016, but the plans were then delayed over a right-of-way dispute.

But the district council said these issues were resolved in 2017.

Wetherspoon spokesman Eddie Gershon said: "We are ready to exchange on the property, however the council has now put it on hold as it has chosen to review the options for the site given the change in the council following the recent local elections.

"We are extremely frustrated given the time and cost put into the project. We are as keen as ever to open a pub on the site."

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