Two operators shortlisted to breathe new life into Iron Duke

Inside the Iron Duke Great Yarmouth

The Iron Duke pub in Great Yarmouth is poised for a new lease of life. - 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".

Inside the Iron Duke pub Great Yarmouth

Inside the old Iron Duke pub in Great Yarmouth in May 2021. - Credit: Jess Coppings

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".

Bernard Williamson, chairman of Great Yarmouth Preservation Trust, is excited at the prospect of the

Bernard Williamson, chairman of Great Yarmouth Preservation Trust, in the Iron Duke pub - Credit: Jess Coppings

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. 

Inside the Iron Duke pub Great Yarmouth

The main bar at the old Iron Duke pub as it was in May 2021. - Credit: Jess Coppings

The pub has been empty since 2008.

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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.

Iron Duke Great Yarmouth

The Iron Duke, a listed building in Great Yarmouth famous for its Art Deco features, is being brought back into use by the town's preservation trust. - Credit: Great Yarmouth Borough Council

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. 

Inside the old Iron Duke pub Great Yarmouth

The old Iron Duke pub has been empty for years but is now on the brink of a new lease of life. - Credit: Jess Coppings

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.