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Council to decide whether to give city centre beer garden the go ahead

PUBLISHED: 10:36 13 May 2019 | UPDATED: 11:11 13 May 2019

Phil Cutter, landlord of the Murderers at Timberhill, who has subbmitted an application to create an al fresco dining and beer garden in Orford Hill. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Phil Cutter, landlord of the Murderers at Timberhill, who has subbmitted an application to create an al fresco dining and beer garden in Orford Hill. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Archant

A Norwich pub landlord will be hoping his bid to create a restaurant and beer garden in the middle of the city centre will be green lit next week - despite criticism from a neighbouring business.

The area off Orford Hill, where the restaurant and beer garden would be. Photo: GoogleThe area off Orford Hill, where the restaurant and beer garden would be. Photo: Google

Phil Cutter, landlord at the The Murderers, in Timber Hill, has submitted an application to create an outdoor restaurant area with 10 tables and 30 chairs off Orford Hill, opposite the Santander Bank.

It is set to be heard by Norwich City Council's regulatory sub committee on Monday.

The al-fresco dining area would be open from 8am to 9pm daily between March and October, would be constantly staffed and would, rather than being an extension of the bar, be for pub customers who have ordered food.

The city centre pub already has an outdoor seating license for the area directly outside, a license it has previously been challenged on by opticians Moss and Leakey, which is based opposite the pub.

The Murderers/Gardeners Arms, Timberhill, Norwich. Photo ; Steve AdamsThe Murderers/Gardeners Arms, Timberhill, Norwich. Photo ; Steve Adams

In the new application, the opticians objected again and said: "Moss and Leakey object in the strongest possible terms and on the grounds of the proven historical nuisance and damage to its business interest."

In his bid, Mr Cutter said since the city council made improvements to the cobbled area off Orford Hill, it had remained "largely unused".

He said: "We have worked closely with the local city centre sergeant, planning and highways, and believe that this unique opportunity (I believe it is the first of its type in Norwich) will make this new venture a gateway to promote Timber Hill, and the diverse businesses we have."

Mr Cutter said he was aware some local traders had concerns about the application, but said: "Many traders have approached me and told me what 'a fantastic idea this is!' I agree. It [does not] benefit my business or long standing reputation to make this area uncontrolled, or a nuisance to the wider general public."

Referencing Moss and Leakey's objection in particular, he said it was "disappointing" and added: "We have proved quite conclusively that we have never actually caused any nuisance."

Norfolk police said they would not object to the bid providing "substantial table meals" were served at all times, the area was used for table service only, with signs indicating this, and customers were seated when using the area.

They said tables and chairs must be put away during the Lord Mayor's Procession, and for two hours before and after Norwich City home matches.

We contacted Moss and Leakey for more.

The regulatory sub committee meeting will take place in City Hall on Monday, May 13.

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Full support from Bermuda Bob's Rumshack

While the bid has received some opposition, it has been backed by Brad Baxter, who along with brother Mike owns nearby Bermuda Bob's rum bar.

Giving his full support, Mr Baxter, who also owns Gonzo's Tea Room, in London Street, said: "Independent bars that offer more than just alcohol to the consumer (be it football on TV or some beers and burgers in the sun) should be given the opportunity to do just that."

It comes after a dispute between Mr Cutter and Bermuda Bob's over noise from the rum bar earlier this year, which Mr Cutter previously said, as a resident, left his family unable to sleep.

In the new papers, Mr Baxter said in London it was not unusual to see venues using "every square inch" of pavement, and that he believed Norwich should "be no different".

"The effect an outdoor seating area has for a bar/restaurant is extremely beneficial to not only to the business but the local economy as a whole," he said.

"As a neighbour I feel this outdoor area will bring more footfall to the leisure area of Timber Hill where people come to be entertained and enjoy themselves."

The changing face of Timber Hill

Over the last 18 months, Timber Hill has seen a number of businesses close their doors, some citing a decline in footfall amid tough trading conditions.

In January 2018, JamPot, a gift shop on the road, closed after its owners decided to take the business online.

Then in February 2018, The Gluten Free Café closed after three years in the street, with the owners citing a combination of economic pressure and the increased availability of gluten free products in supermarkets and restaurants.

In April the unit was taken over by Re. Source, a new vegan shop and café, where all products are sold without packaging.

In February this year, Cupcakes and Bubbles announced it was set to close in June after three years in Timber Hill.

At the time, its owners said they had felt the effects of the pedestrianisation of All Saints Green and the relocation of Primark in February last year, both of which they said had contributed to dwindling footfall in the area

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