Pub chain wins licence to open West Norfolk venue

Village view - the sign of the Black Horse.
Village view - the sign of the Black Horse.

Britain’s biggest pub chain has won the right to reopen a West Norfolk village venue that has been closed for several months.

The EI Group says it is now seeking to recruit a licensee to run the Black Horse in Castle Rising after its application was approved at a West Norfolk Council licensing hearing on Tuesday.

And residents who had raised concerns over noise say they have been “reassured” by how the issues were handled.

EI, formerly known as Enterprise Inns, owns more than 5,000 pubs across Britain including the Black Horse, which has been closed since July last year.

Announcing the decision to grant the licence, committee chairman Chris Crofts said they felt re-opening the building would benefit the community.

The committee also urged the group to look at ways of minimising noise from the site, including how the car park is surfaced and displaying prominent notices asking customers to leave the site quietly.

That followed the raising of concerns by some residents about noise, given the initial application sought the right for the pub to open until midnight and host live music performances.

Mr Crofts said the concerns were based on “historic, low level” incidents.

But he added: “We expect a responsible premises licence holder to take notice of these concerns.”

Richard Waite, a trustee of the Trinity Hospital almshouses, said many of the fears had been addressed by the applicant’s decision not to pursue a music licence.

He said: “I think we’re very happy they’ve got the licence.”

Another resident, Carole Weatherhead, said she was “very reassured” by what she heard during the meeting.

In a statement following the meeting, the EI Group said: “We are planning an investment project at the pub and would like to reassure the local community that we’re actively seeking a new publican to take on the site as soon as possible.”