Pub protection

Years ago, Norwich was famous for having ‘a pub for every day, and a church for every week’ – in fact, depending on how you define a pub, in the late 19C Norwich had at least two pubs for every day! Changing social habits – the explosion of TV, the internet, and other ways to spend your money and time – have meant that many pubs have closed over the years, to the extent that we now have around 140 pubs in Norwich.

CAMRA believe that pubs are a vital social facility, as well as, of course, being the only place you’ll get cask beer! So in general we oppose all planning applications which seek to convert pubs to other uses, or which significantly affect the pub’s ability to trade profitably, for example by building on the car park.

We continuously monitor planning applications submitted to the local councils our Branch area includes – Norwich City Council and Broadland, Breckland and South Norfolk District Councils – but we may not pick up every one, so if you know of a pub under threat please contact us via the Contacts page.

We also look out for conversions which happen without planning permission, for example pubs becoming restaurants, or closing and the owner using the previously-public areas as their home, as these are not lawful – the owner should gain planning permission for the change of use. Unfortunately, councils are often reluctant to enforce the rules, and the change of use can be approved retrospectively if it has gone on long enough, so please let us know if you know of anything like this happening.

A common ploy, when owners are looking to convert a pub, is to say that it isn’t viable, often citing trading figures from the last few years, which may have been intentionally run down. To counter this, CAMRA has developed a Viability Test, which takes into account everything affecting the viability of the pub, and can be used to oppose planning applications.