Norwich’s Owl Sanctuary Venue Threatened With Closure

By on 14 January 2016
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The ‘Give A Hoot’ petition has been started to save prominent Norwich DIY venue The Owl Sanctuary, which has recently come under threat of closure.
In a statement made on The Owl Sanctuary’s Facebook page, the venue’s current owners said:

I had a call just before Christmas saying that our building has been sold to a property developer without me ever being told it was happening or given any notice what so ever as should have happened as per my lease.

Its still not really sunk in but I’ll try and summarise.

After 2 years of hard work from my team and myself to create what has become one of the most respected and talked about DIY venues in the country my passion and dream has been kicked in the teeth, all we ever set out to do was create a community venue with a solid ethos that had great beer and great music and didn’t have to sell its soul to provide that, it seems this day and age that’s just not possible.

To make matters worse the person who has purchased the building is Richard Pratt, who owns the furniture store next door. His plan was always to knock down the back of that store, Warings (the old workshops and last remaining parts of the original cattle market) and build a huge block of flats which will be designed for upper class parasites such as himself to lock themselves away from the rest off the local community.

The statement continues…

…we will close our doors for the final time on Jan 31st after a solid week of shows. Due to this bullshit I am currently in a position where I have invested a crazy amount of time and money in a venue and now have no clue about my future prospects or security for my family, nor do my friends who work here and have done for 2 years since the day we got the keys and started painting by iPhone torch as they power wasn’t back on. So all we ask is please support us as much as you can until our closing date to help limit the financial damage this arsehole will inflict on us not to mention the damage to the local music scene, grass-roots touring and even the Norwich Soup Movement who are based upstairs here at The Owl.

You can read the full statement here.
Since then, a Facebook page entitled Give A Hoot has been set up to try and save the venue. Give Is A Hoot is, in their own words…

…an anonymously-founded movement that aims to help The Owl Sanctuary – Norwich’s much beloved Pub, cafe and music venue – from being closed and knocked down.

We are not affiliated in any way to The Owl Sanctuary, nor do we promote, endorse or condone violent protest of any sort towards those parties who have sought to purchase the building’s lease from behind the backs of The Owl Sanctuary’s leaseholders.

We are a peaceful yet stubborn body of likeminded individuals who love and want to keep The Owl Sanctuary open, or to help in any way possible.

We promote and encourage donations and petitioning to keep The Owl Sanctuary open, and encourage page visitors to like, share and spread the word as much as possible.

And on the importance of the Owl Sanctuary, they had this to say:

The Owl Sanctuary has become a symbol of Norwich’s community spirit, and already, thousands of people have supported the Give a Hoot movement – a movement that wants to help The Owl Sanctuary in whatever way possible.

It is also used by the Norwich Soup Movement – a DIY charitable organisation that aims to feed the homeless, who will also be affected should The Owl Sanctuary close down.
Our first and foremost goal is to find a way to keep The Owl Sanctuary open.

There is an online petition as well as a Crowdfunding page, and you can find more via the Give A Hoot Facebook page.

About Kez Whelan

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