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Pub blames smoking ban and failed B&B for closure

PUBLISHED: 08:05 13 May 2019 | UPDATED: 11:58 13 May 2019

Martin Turver lighting up in his pub, the Dog & Partridge at East Wretham back in 2007. 
Photo: Bill Smith

Martin Turver lighting up in his pub, the Dog & Partridge at East Wretham back in 2007. Photo: Bill Smith

Archant © 2007

The expected closure of a Norfolk village pub has been blamed on the smoking ban of 2007 and its failed bed and breakfast.

Martin Turver's smoking pub, the Dog & Partridge in East Wretham
. Photo: Bill SmithMartin Turver's smoking pub, the Dog & Partridge in East Wretham . Photo: Bill Smith

The Dog and Patridge, which has sat on the Watton Road at Wretham, near Thetford, for 13 years is seeking planning permission to become a home after multiple attempts to keep the business going.

A planning application has been sent to Breckland Council to turn the pub into a home and cease trading due to it being Grade II listed.

It had been closed for more than four years when it was taken over by Martin Turver in 2006. But the application said that soon after it opened trading figures were a "business concern".

When the smoking ban was introduced in 2007 business fell in the pub by up to 30pc and communications started with Breckland Council's planning team in regard to change of use.

Martin Turver's smoking pub, the Dog & Partridge in East Wretham
Photo: Bill Smith
Copy: Aura Sabadus
For: EDP / TWT
Archant © 2007Martin Turver's smoking pub, the Dog & Partridge in East Wretham Photo: Bill Smith Copy: Aura Sabadus For: EDP / TWT Archant © 2007

To improve business a bed and breakfast was opened in 2010 but a downward trend continued despite temporary improvement.

Mr Turver said in the application: "Temporary increases in total business turnover can be directly attributed to specific projects that have taken place in the surrounding area when the letting rooms have been fully utilised for example Snetterton Power Station in the winter months 2015/16.

"Unfortunately, the improvements in business turnover initially gained by the addition of the bed and breakfast facility have now diminished to such an extent that the business is, once again, running at a loss."

A viability test has been conducted by CAMRA that explains the area has a population of about 400 but only 40pc are adults.

Martin Turver's smoking pub, the Dog & Partridge in East Wretham
Photo: Bill Smith
Copy: Aura Sabadus
For: EDP / TWT
Archant © 2007Martin Turver's smoking pub, the Dog & Partridge in East Wretham Photo: Bill Smith Copy: Aura Sabadus For: EDP / TWT Archant © 2007

It discovered that "several attempts had been made to have traditional pub darts and pool teams but the villagers themselves asked that such activities be stopped so that they didn't clash with similar activities already undertaken at the village hall".

Efforts have been made to sell the pub with it being listed in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2017, 2018 and 2019. Every time it was put up for sale no offers were made. In 2015 it went to auction and did not sell.

Attempts have also been made to purchase an area of land next to the pub to build an extension but every offer was declined.

This application is for change of use and if approved then a further application will be sent with desired changes.

The pub was contacted for comment.

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