Saturday, 21 July 2018

Hotel’s licence to sell teas on Red Lion Lawn extended

A HOTEL has had its contract to serve food and drink on Red Lion Lawn in Henley extended despite “teething

A HOTEL has had its contract to serve food and drink on Red Lion Lawn in Henley extended despite “teething problems”.

In June, the Red Lion Hotel was granted a six-month licence by the town council, which owns the land, to serve customers on the riverside amenity.

Now the agreement has been extended into next year.

Town clerk Mike Kennedy told the council’s recreation and amenities committee: “It has generated some disquiet, largely from those members who voted against the proposal in the first place, although there have been no recorded complaints from the public.”

He said the complaints from councillors’ included the impression that the lawn was no longer for public use, particularly as a sign on the railings promoted the sale of refreshments.

Mr Kennedy also reported claims of unfriendliness shown by hotel waiters to visitors not wanting food or drink and tables blocking access gates for boat passengers.

He said these issues had been raised with the hotel manager and the sign had been removed. Councillor David Clenshaw said he didn’t want the licence to be extended.

“When we have a lawn which is a public facility it is difficult to use it commercially,” he said.

But Councillor Sam Evans said: “I have asked residents how they feel about it and I have to say it has been a ‘yes’ apart from one due to lack of wheelchair access but there is not a lot we can do about that. I agree that there have been problems but they were to be expected. There would be teething problems when it hasn’t been used like this for however many decades.

“The hugely positive thing is the response of the management to our request to make changes.” Councillor Joan Bland added: “I have found the waiters to be absolutely charming and extremely helpful. I have never seen a boat gate covered up by a table and the staff have opened up the gate when I have embarked or disembarked.”

Mayor Stefan Gawrysiak asked Mr Kennedy if he felt he could sort out any problems with the management in an amicable way, to which he replied: “absolutely”.

Councillor Gawrysiak said: “There have been teething problems which have been sorted out. It is a very nice area for multiple use and I think we have a developing relationship and the hotel has agreed to keep this area clean and tidy, even in the closed season.”

The committee agreed to extend the licence as determined by Mr Kennedy.

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