Plan for new Wetherspoon now ‘off the table’
PUBLISHED: 14:42 04 June 2019 | UPDATED: 16:03 04 June 2019
Plans for a JD Wetherspoon pub in North Walsham have been thrown out.
An offer for the firm to convert the former town council offices in New Road has been taken "off the table", North Norfolk District Council has confirmed.
The move will be frustrating for people hopeful the town would finally get a Wetherspoon, five years after the company first proposed taking over the building.
A council spokesman said: "We can confirm that the original offer from Wetherspoon has been taken off the table."
The authority announced last month that its new cabinet led by Sarah Butikofer would "look again" at what the building could be used for, but stopped short of saying the Wetherspoon plan was definitely a non-starter.
The spokesman said this week: "As we announced on May 22, all possible future options for the former town council offices on New Road in North Walsham are being appraised.
"A report will be brought to a future meeting of cabinet.
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"Any and all parties interested in bringing this key building into effective use - and doing so in good time, at an appropriate price - are welcome to get in touch."
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Wetherspoon spokesman Eddie Gershon said: " We are surprised that the council has not formally informed Wetherspoon of their decision.
"We will discuss this matter internally."
Mr Gershon also referred to an email from James Marsden, Wetherspoon's senior acquisitions and estates manager, which read: "We are ready to exchange but the council have put it on hold as they need to review the options for the site given the change in the council following the recent local elections. We are extremely frustrated given the time and cost put into the project."
Town mayor Garry Bull, said while the town council had backed Wetherspoon's bid in the past, it now "fully supported" the district council's actions.
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Mr Bull said: "It has got to the point where we have to move forward. The idea of a Wetherspoon is very popular but we're at an impasse."
He said the council was considering applying to have the building classed as an asset of community value, which it could then purchase and lease out to an operator.
Mr Bull said: "We will have to make sure that's feasible first because the building does need a lot of work done to it."
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