Two operators shortlisted to breathe new life into Iron Duke
- Credit: Jess Coppings
A call for interest has drawn two "serious and very credible" applicants vying to take on the mouldering Iron Duke in Great Yarmouth.
The applicants were selected from four candidates who put forward proposals for a new end use for the former pub and will be "further examined".
Meanwhile a renewed call for expressions of interest has been made with bids needing to be in by the end of December.
Bernard Williamson, chair of Great Yarmouth Preservation Trust, hailed the developments as "good progress" in what was "a crucial development phase".
He said: "This is an incredibly important listed building and the preservation trust is working hard to enable a full restoration and to open the building back up to the public.
"We have received lots of support and goodwill from heritage organisations such as Historic England and the Architectural Heritage Fund and have managed to make good progress in this crucial development phase of work.”
Since purchasing the Iron Duke earlier this year the trust says it has been working through a series of steps to secure funding and develop a viable and sustainable use to guarantee its future.
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Over the past year the trust has made it wind and weather tight, undertaken emergency repairs, and carried out a full survey as well as commissioning a heritage statement.
The grounds and interior have also been cleared of rubbish and needles.
A statement said there had been four expressions of interest all of which had been interviewed by a specialist consultant.
Two with "serious and very credible business proposals" had been taken forward for further scrutiny.
The statement added: "To widen this, we have made a further open call for expressions of interest with a deadline of the end of December and any new expressions will be thoroughly considered.
"Whatever end use is taken forward the building's special character, appearance, and significance will not be affected."
Full restoration is likely to cost around a million pounds.
The pub had been owned Bourne Leisure until they agreed to sell it to the trust for £110,000.
A group called the Friends of the Iron Duke, formed by campaigners, was successful in getting it Grade II listed and continues to keep a close eye on progress.