Further calls for council to bring JD Wetherspoon to Norfolk town
PUBLISHED: 15:31 18 October 2019 | UPDATED: 15:31 18 October 2019
People will get the chance to choose whether a JD Wetherspoon pub should open in a north Norfolk town.
The firm first expressed an interest in acquiring Cedar House, the old North Walsham Town Council offices, five years ago.
But no contracts have been exchanged despite the firm saying it still wants to move to the town.
The ruling Lib Dems at North Norfolk District Council have called for a review of the building's future to make the most of the asset.
But Conservative parliamentary candidate for North Norfolk, Duncan Baker, has now written an open letter to council leader Sarah Butikofer demanding the authority brings the pub chain to North Walsham.
Mr Baker said: "There is resounding community support, with over 600 positive replies to our recent petition calling for a Wetherspoon's in the town.
"Wetherspoon's senior acquisitions and estate manager, James Marsden, said they are 'willing and able to exchange contracts on the property now'.
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"The council has a duty to use its assets in the best interests of taxpayers.
"The building has failed to meet the requirements to be listed as a community asset, so the choice is simple. Either work with Wetherspoon's to bring jobs, investment, and income to the town or leave a prominent town centre building empty, to fall into disrepair.
"There can be no further excuse not to listen to the community and sit around the table with Wetherspoon's to get contracts signed as soon as possible."
Mrs Butikofer said: "There will be a public consultation in the town later in the year when people will be able to decide which option is best for the site.
"We are looking at a range of options and different proposals will be on show at this open event.
"We had the site valued and it is worth much more than the price Wetherspoon's has on the table.
"It's a public asset and we need to make sure we get value for money.
"We also received £1m from central government to reinvigorate the town centre, and some of that could go towards bringing Cedar House back to life."