Thursday, 19 October 2017

Pub conversion refused

PLANS to turn a former Henley pub into a house have been refused.

Brakspear applied to convert the Rose and Crown, a Grade II listed pub in New Street, into a six-bedroom home.

However, South Oxfordshire District Council’s planning committee voted unanimously to refuse permission due to the loss of commercial property in the street and harm to the conservation area.

The pub closed in August but the property is still being used as a bed and breakfast.

The council received 12 emails objecting to the plans and one in favour.

Opponent Richard Guy, who lives in New Street, said: “It is not only a 15th century pub, it has a coaching arch, original coaching doors, a well in the bar and a lovely south-facing garden.

It’s been a pub for 500 years and if you look at the frontage you can see that it is going to be difficult to convert. A lot of the residents of New Street either live in flats or in houses with courtyards. They need somewhere to sit out and you can’t do that at every pub in Henley.

Not everyone has the same idea of a boozer - you need a variety.”

In May, permission was granted for the neighbouring Horse and Groom pub to be turned into a house but district councillors felt the Rose and Crown was of greater historical importance.

Town and district councillor Joan Bland said: “The pub used to be a trading post for horses to and from Oxford.

It is a viable business. It was always viable until the most recent landlord. He was also landlord of the Horse and Groom and turned it into a cocktail bar, which closed very quickly because people want to go to a pub with beer.”

James Sturgess, from Brakspear’s planning agents, Caldecotte Consultants, said there were 10 other pubs in the town centre.

“These pubs provide good facilities and do meet the local community’s need and generally exceed what was provided at the Rose and Crown,” he said. “It is therefore our view, and the view of the planning officers, that the loss does not impact on the day-to-day needs of the local community.”

Council planning officer Tom Wyatt said that if the pub was retained as a commercial property, that would not prevent it from becoming a different type of business.

He said: “It’s not listed because it’s a pub, it’s listed because it’s a historical building. Tesco could come and open a shop there.”

Brakspear has said it will appeal.

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