Wetherspoon pub is no longer a prospect in North Walsham

The old North Walsham Town Council offices.Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The old North Walsham Town Council offices.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Councillors have voted to withdraw from selling a North Walsham building once earmarked to be a Wetherspoon pub and instead move towards making it available for community organisations.

For seven years rumours have swirled that The Cedars in North Walsham could become a Wetherspoon pub.

The pub chain has repeatedly said it's still interested in the site and "keen to purchase" it but no sale has gone through or announcement made

Now, North Norfolk District Council's cabinet has voted to formally withdraw from selling The Cedars and instead keep it as council property to be refurbished and then made available to let.

The local authority would make use of a grant secured from Historic England for the refurbishment and would then look at selling the remaining parts of the site.

Eric Seward, Liberal Democrat candidate for North Walsham East in the 2019 North Norfolk District Co

Eric Seward, Liberal Democrat candidate for North Walsham East in the 2019 North Norfolk District Council election. Picture: SUPPLIED BY THE CANDIDATE - Credit: Archant

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Eric Seward, deputy leader of NNDC said the sale of the site dated back to June 2014 when the council received "an unsolicited offer to open a pub and restaurant on the site."

He said: "That was seven years ago and now we are actually no farther forward and the building itself has remained empty for nearly five years after the previous tenants left.

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Mr Seward said "there's no immediate or early prospect of completion and development of the site into a pub and restaurant by the intended purchaser JD Wetherspoon" and "no prospect of a pub on this site until later 2023 or more likely 2024." 

He said: "JD Wetherspoon have always said they will be interested in coming to the town, it's one thing saying you're interested, it's another thing actually doing it."

Mr Seward said the council had "tried its best" and there was "no early prospect of Wetherspoons actually opening a pub on this site." 

He added that as a local resident and someone who "actually uses local pubs" the message he increasingly heard in the town was "after all this time, for goodness sake bring this historical building back into use."

In June, Eddie Gershon, a spokesperson for JD Wetherspoon said the company was "still keen to purchase the site and develop it into a pub and would be more than happy to speak with the council members on this matter.”

They did not wish to add more when approached for comment.

NNDC's cabinet voted unanimously to follow the recommendations for The Cedars.

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