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Norfolk Wetherspoon's pub in line for £1m expansion

PUBLISHED: 16:37 22 January 2019

The Whiffler pub in Hellesdon, which could be in line for a £1m expansion. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The Whiffler pub in Hellesdon, which could be in line for a £1m expansion. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2015

A Wetherspoon's pub on the outskirts of Norwich could be in line for a major expansion - which would see it increase by a third in size.

Tim Martin, chairman of Wetherspoons, at The Bell Hotel in Norwich during his pro-Brexit tour. Picture: submittedTim Martin, chairman of Wetherspoons, at The Bell Hotel in Norwich during his pro-Brexit tour. Picture: submitted

The Whiffler, on Boundary Road in Hellesdon, is the latest pub in the chain to be touted with an overhaul, with the chain applying to Broadland District Council to renovate it.

The estimated £1m investment would see a new conservatory area at the front of the building, expansion work carried out to the pub’s kitchen and parking capacity increased.

If the plans are approved, the chain claims it would create 30 new jobs, almost doubling the current staff force at the pub. The pub currently employs 40 members of staff, but the expansion would create 15 full-time and 15 part-time vacancies.

The proposals call for a steel and aluminium framed conservatory to be built at the front of the pub, which would be fitted with a retractable roof, and an extension at the back to house a new kitchen.

A JD Wetherspoon spokesman said: “If approved, the plans would allow The Whiffler to provide more customer space and improved operations, with new kitchen and staff facilities.”

However, the spokesman said it was too early to say how long potential works would take and whether the pub would be required to close - should it be given the council’s go ahead.

Speaking in Norwich earlier this month, Wetherspoon’s owner Tim Martin admitted he had no plans to open any new pubs in Norfolk but promised investment was on the horizon and this application is the first evidence of this.

He said: “We are tending now, because we are in a lot of towns, to look at investing money in the facilities we already have. We spent £2m redeveloping what we have at the Bell in Norwich.

“We did the same thing in Great Yarmouth and added a hotel, we have built a new pub in Gorleston but there aren’t a huge number of towns we are not in, we have nearly 900 pubs now so there will be a lot of investment in the facilities we already have.”

The application will be decided in due course.



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