The Norwich and Norfolk branch of CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) received the good news on 4th February 2016 that The Owl Sanctuary, Cattle Market Street, in Norwich, has been successfully listed as an Asset of Community Value (ACV) by Norwich City Council.
Neil Bowers, Pubs Protection Officer for the branch, said “We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone (2,500 people) who submitted an application for the pub to be listed. This took everyone within the branch by surprise and it was, and still remains, an unprecedented number. So from the branch we thank you for your support and hope you continue to support The Owl Sanctuary and the pubs within Norwich and the surrounding area".
There has been a pub on this site serving the community since 1845. Originally the brewers Steward, Patteson Finch & Co owned the pub but since 1945, the pub has been known under different names including The One and Only and Marquee at the Shirehall and then under the name The Owl Sanctuary from March 2014.
Since refurbishment and re-opening in 2014, The Owl Sanctuary developed a big following in the music scene and was supported by the huge number of people who either contacted the local CAMRA branch or Norwich City Council once the sale of the building and the closure of the pub as The Owl Sanctuary was announced, as a pub and a unique venue with an impressive list of genuine touring bands from around the world visiting.
As soon as a pub is nominated as an ACV, the owner must obtain planning permission to change it to any other use, or for instance, demolish it. Also if they want to sell the pub to anyone who wants to use it as anything other than a pub, e.g. Tesco or the Co-Op, the community will be given the chance to find someone to buy it as a pub.
The removal of permitted development rights is considered by CAMRA as vital to protect the future of public houses in the light of around 29 pubs closing a week.
The Norwich and Norfolk branch of CAMRA have been focusing on ACVs in the last year and has successfully had ACVs granted by the respective council on over thirty pubs in the branch area such as the King Edward VII, Number 12 and Kimberley Arms in Norwich, the Nelson Head, Horsey and recently in Norwich, The Gatehouse on Dereham Road.
Also parish councils and community groups can nominate pubs for an ACV with such success as the Marlpit in Costessey and Blofield’s Kings Head.