Regular pre-match haunt for Norwich City supporters to discover its Derby Day fate

PUBLISHED: 08:40 21 January 2019 | UPDATED: 12:00 21 January 2019

The Fat Cat and Canary has been told it can not open early on Derby Day. Pictured, bar manager Justin Mckee and landlord Christian Hodgkinson. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

The Fat Cat and Canary has been told it can not open early on Derby Day. Pictured, bar manager Justin Mckee and landlord Christian Hodgkinson. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

A regular pre-match haunt for Norwich City fans will today learn whether it will be able to serve supporters ahead of the East Anglian Derby next month.

Under the terms of its licence, the Fat Cat and Canary on Thorpe Road in Norwich is only allowed to serve alcohol from 12pm on Sundays - the exact time the Championship match between Norwich City and Ipswich Town on February 10 kicks off.

The pub had applied to Norwich City Council for permission to start serving at 10am on Derby Day, however, the bid was blocked by Norfolk Police’s licensing team, which described the pub as a “flash point” for conflict.

Today, members of a licensing sub-committee at City Hall will decide whether to back the police in this view, or grant landlord Christian Hodgkinson’s appeal against the initial refusal.

Mr Hogkinson said: “I do feel a little singled out, as lots of other pubs will be opening earlier on this day.

“However, because of my location - and the fact my pub has the word ‘canary’ on the sign - I can see why the police feel the way they do.”

The landlord forecast being able to serve fans ahead of the game would likely be worth more than £2,000 to his business.

However, Norfolk Police licensing officer Michelle Bartram said: “The location of this premises has historically been a flashpoint for conflict between home and away supporters.

“The away supporters take this route to the ground to deliberately antagonise the Norwich fans, many of which will be congregated out the front of this venue.”

The appeal hearing takes place at 2.15pm.

Meanwhile, the same sub-committee will today decide whether noise complaints against fellow city pub the Belle Vue are reason enough to revoke its licence.

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