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'Fingers crossed' - Pledge over future of city pub

PUBLISHED: 10:19 14 January 2020 | UPDATED: 15:15 14 January 2020

The Red Lion on Bishopgate in Norwich, which is closing at the end of the month. Photo: Steve Adams

The Red Lion on Bishopgate in Norwich, which is closing at the end of the month. Photo: Steve Adams

Hopes for a city pub to remain at the centre of its community have been given a boost - despite it being set to close under current ownership at the end of the month.

It was revealed last week that the Red Lion on Bishopgate in Norwich will close at the end of January, with the current lease having expired at the end of September.

The freehold of the pub is owned by the Great Hospital Charity, which previously leased it out as a pub. However, when its current lease expired it was decided this would not be renewed.

MORE: Pub at heart of community to close at end of month

The current landlady, Amanda Rose, has confirmed she will be leaving the pub at the end of the month and it was feared by regulars that the pub may not re-open.

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However, the chartered surveyors marketing a new lease have insisted it will only be sold to parties interested in continuing to run it as a pub.

Nick Saffell, of Brown and Co, said: "It will be leased on the open market from the beginning of February as a pub and there will be no option to change its use. The price has not been worked out yet.

"It will provide somebody a good opportunity to invest in a pub which is in a great location by the river with a lot of potential."

Richard Dixon, pub protection officer for CAMRA in Norwich, welcomed news that it will be retained as a pub, but said he was mindful of the type it could become.

He said: "It is good news that it will have a future as a pub, but I just hope it doesn't lose the community feel it has now. Lots of groups and clubs make use of it and I hope that would be able to continue.

"I also suspect whoever takes on the lease may wish to renovate it, so it could well be out of action for some time. I worry that lots of its community appeal will be lost and hope it will re-open as soon as it can.

"We have to keep our fingers crossed."

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