Wetherspoon issue has become town's 'very own Brexit'
PUBLISHED: 12:53 16 November 2019 | UPDATED: 15:11 16 November 2019
The saga of a much wished-for JD Wetherspoon has become a Norfolk town's "very own Brexit", says one campaigner.
And now a sign calling for a new branch of the popular pub chain in North Walsham has been drawing attention to the idea.
Barry Holden, from the town, started a Facebook group called J D Wetherspoons for North Walsham to campaign for the business to open there.
He said: "This has become North Walsham's own Brexit with elected officials refusing to implement the wishes of the community they supposedly represent.
"And make no mistake the vast majority of residents of the town I have spoken to are in favour of 'Spoons in the town, and are becoming increasingly angry at the continued delays, all feeling that it would be a major boost to North Walsham, being the most successful family friendly restaurant in the country."
Wetherspoon first said they wanted to open a branch in the old North Walsham Town Council offices in New Road five years ago.
But no contracts have been exchanged despite the firm saying it still wants to move to the town.
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The ruling Lib Dems at North Norfolk District Council have been reviewing the building's future, with a number of options being considered. Council leader Sarah Butikofer said in October: "Councillors will meet soon to shortlist these and it is likely that there will then be a period of consultation with residents."
MORE: Town might finally be getting Wetherspoon pub after five-year saga
He said the council already knew what the people of North Walsham wanted - a Wetherspoon. "The catchment area is huge and it would bring so many people in," he said.
Mr Holden said he agreed to up the sign on the fence of RS Timbers in Norwich Road.
Steve Emerson, timber yard owner, said he was "absolutely" behind the campaign to bring Wetherspoon to North Walsham.
He said: "It would draw hundreds of people into the town."
"I don't think the sign is big enough, to be honest, it should be even more noticeable."
James Marsden, senior acquisitions and estates manager at JD Wetherspoon, said the firm was "willing and able to exchange contracts on the property now".
A petition on change.org in support of the plan has more than 600 signatures.