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Hotel may change hands

PUBLISHED: 13:33 05 March 2008 | UPDATED: 14:29 07 July 2010

A WELL-KNOWN hotel in the heart of Dereham could soon be taken over by one of the country's largest high street pub chains.

Wetherspoons is in talks to buy the Phoenix in Church Street and aims to completely revamp the building.

A WELL-KNOWN hotel in the heart of Dereham could soon be taken over by one of the country's largest high street pub chains.

Wetherspoons is in talks to buy the Phoenix in Church Street and aims to completely revamp the building.

The Phoenix was named after the mythical bird as the hotel was said to have risen from the ashes of the

old King's Arms, which was demolished in 1962 in the Market Place to make way for the Woolworths store.

Permission for the Phoenix was given on the same day that demolition of the King's Arms started.

Spokesman for Wetherspoons, Eddie Gershon, said: “We are currently in negotiations with the owner. If the deal did go ahead we would need to apply for new licences and gut the interior. So at the moment there is no time scale as to when we could be open.

“We've had our eye on Dereham for a while and carried out feasibility studies. It would be an exciting move and something to benefit the town.

“What would happen to the hotel rooms hasn't been decided yet, but we have almost 700 locations and 11 have some small accommodation.”

Current owner Elizabeth Hotels - which bought the hotel in 1996 - put the property on the market towards the end of last year, and operations director Andrew Watson said: “We very confident. It's with the lawyers at the moment.

“We're selling because we're diversifying away from commercial property. All the staff will remain employed by Wetherspoons.

“We know the company very

well and think they're looking at modelling it on the Globe at King's Lynn. They'll have a secure and good future here.

“It would be absolutely fantastic for the town.”

The Phoenix has a large function room - which is used for many events and weddings - as well as hotel rooms, bars and a restaurant.

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