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‘It’s costing around £9,000 per month to be closed’ - town’s pubs hope for July reopening

PUBLISHED: 16:10 02 June 2020 | UPDATED: 09:25 03 June 2020

King's Arms publican Martin Miles. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

King's Arms publican Martin Miles. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2014

It was once named the “drinking capital of Europe” by national press when five of its pubs received the 24-hour drinking licence, more than anyone else on the continent, but the taps of North Walsham’s pubs have fallen dry during lockdown, with many not knowing when the next pint will be poured.

The North Walsham & Dilham Canal Trust celebrate the 200th Anniversary of the construction of the canal at the King's Arms pub in North Walsham. The pub was where the agreement was reached to build the canal. 
PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY
The North Walsham & Dilham Canal Trust celebrate the 200th Anniversary of the construction of the canal at the King's Arms pub in North Walsham. The pub was where the agreement was reached to build the canal. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

At the King’s Arms, owner Martin Miles said he hoped to open in July, but had been left in uncertainty as to when exactly the pub and adjoining nightclub would be able to reopen, he added there was also uncertainty over what lengths of social distancing will be required.

He said: “It’s absolutely rubbish to be honest, because of the size of the pub we didn’t qualify for any grants, we’ve had no government help at all, it’s costing around £9,000 per month to be closed.

“We’re getting more benches, we’re clearing the car park and we’re going to have a one way system, but it’s going to be absolutely crazy, they’ll all come in, it’ll all be fine, and then three pints later they’ll all have their arms around each other telling them how much they’ve missed them.”

Tom Williams at the Black Swan said he was waiting to hear from the pub company and government on when they could reopen, but said staff have been mocking up plans for how social distancing in the pub’s thin bar area.

The Black Swan pub in North Walsham which has closed.

Picture: MARK BULLIMORE  The Black Swan pub in North Walsham which has closed.

Picture: MARK BULLIMOREThe Black Swan pub in North Walsham which has closed. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE The Black Swan pub in North Walsham which has closed. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

Mr Williams said: “It’ll be tough for us, we’ll have to sit down and work it out, we’ve got quite a bit of outside space and that’ll help us. But you can’t have outside without inside space, what’s the point? I Just don’t see how it would work.”

The White Swan is aiming to reopen on July 4 and owner Bev Holland, who took over at the pub on the day lockdown was announced after its previous landlord retired, has been overseeing a full refurbishment of both its interior and beer garden during closure.

Ms Holland said: “From what I understand initially we’re going to be able to open the beer garden taking in social distancing, so it’s just a case of making sure the tables are spaced when we lay it out.

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“It’s all we can do unfortunately, it’s all a case of playing it by ear, it’s a learning curve.”

The Black Swan pub in North Walsham which has closed.

Picture: MARK BULLIMOREThe Black Swan pub in North Walsham which has closed. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE


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