Norwich pub hostel plan

Norwich's first backpackers' hostel could open next year thanks to the men behind an award-winning, eco-friendly tourism facility on the north Norfolk coast.

Father and son Alister and Jason Borthwick, who run Deepdale Farm at Burnham Deepdale, aim to develop the site of the former Ferry Boat pub in King Street, which has fallen into disrepair and been boarded-up since closing in 2006, and open the hostel in 2011.

The Borthwicks are now planning the new eco-friendly hostel with mainly private en-suite rooms and family rooms, and a few dorms.

Alister Borthwick said: "Norwich's YHA (Youth Hostel Association) closed over seven years ago and no other backpacker hostel accommo-dation is available, yet the city and the surrounding area fit perfectly with the backpacker market."

The hostel will offer canoe and cycle hire and Jason Borthwick said the new venture would create jobs by working with local businesses.

The new owners, who are behind the award-winning, eco-friendly tourism facilities at Deepdale Farm on the north Norfolk coast, have planning permission for extensions and alterations and for a new building at the back of the pub providing a riverside dining and bar lounge facility.

Alister Borthwick said: "We plan to lease out the hostel, much as we have done at Deepdale, and the canoe hire, cycle hire and café may go to the same tenant or to separate tenants depending on who approaches us.

"We know groups like Camra (Campaign for Real Ale) are keen to see the pub reopen. We definitely feel a small real ale pub on the site would be an excellent addition. This might be run by the tenants of the hostel or as a separate entity."

Caroline Jarrold, chairman of Visit Norwich, welcomed the news, saying: "I think it's a great idea as there are no premises of that type near the city centre. It's a wonderful opportunity to attract different types of tourists to come here. It has also been such a shame to see how the former pub has been boarded-up for so long."

People can follow the development by visiting

Eastern Daily Press - Journalist: David Bale