PLANS have been approved for luxury watch company Bremont to move its headquarters across Henley
PLANS have been approved for luxury watch company Bremont to move its headquarters across Henley.
The firm can now move from Sawmills, off Marlow Road, to a new purpose-built 18,000 sq ft complex on land at Sheephouse Farm, off Reading Road, immediately south of the Jubilee Park playing fields.
Both sites are owned by the Culden Faw estate, which belongs to multi-millionaire financier Urs Schwarzenbach.
The scheme was approved by South Oxfordshire District Council’s planning committee last week, even though it is in conflict with the Henley and Harpsden neighbourhood plan.
Planning officer Tom Wyatt said that there was a "compelling" case for granting approval despite the two-acre site not being included in the plan.
He said the company needed to expand and the new offices could accommodate 70 staff.
Mr Wyatt said: “In addition, Bremont needs a very clean working environment due to the nature of the watchmaking process, which would be harder to achieve on an industrial site in the presence of other businesses.
“Furthermore, Bremont has built up a reputation for high-quality exclusive watches aimed at the high end of the market. The company has boutique stores in London, New York and Hong Kong.
“For these reasons it is understandable that the company does not wish to occupy premises within an industrial area with limited control over the appearance of the surroundings.”
Harpsden and Shiplake Parish Councils both objected, saying the site was not designated for commercial development in the plan while the former Wyevale garden centre further along Reading Road was.
But Henley Town Council recommended the application was approved because of the “exceptional” reasons why the firm needs to relocate and the move would boost the local economy.