Saturday, 28 November 2020

Cream teas set to be served on Red Lion Lawn

CREAM teas are set to be sold on Red Lion Lawn in Henley.

CREAM teas are set to be sold on Red Lion Lawn in Henley.

Town councillors are supporting an application by the Red Lion Hotel to serve afternoon teas during the summer.

They had previously raised concerns about maintaining access for the public and putting a small area to this type of use.

Sam Gill, who owns the hotel, said: “I have spent some time researching the Red Lion Hotel and the facilities it has provided to the town and tourists over the last 100 years.

“We would like to re-establish the serving of afternoon tea on Red Lion Lawn for the summer period. We believe that this will provide an excellent service proposition to our guests and the day tourists as well as locals.”

Mr Gill said the hotel staff would maintain the area and clean it daily.

Town clerk Mike Kennedy told a meeting of the town council’s recreation and amenities committee that he favoured the hotel’s application after it provided refreshments at the official re-opening of the lawn two weeks ago.

He added: “If Red Lion Lawn, which is a little gem, is brought back into good use with increased footfall, this would detract those undesirables that would use it for other activities.”

He suggested a casual lease, to be reviewed at the end of the year, adding: “Their proposal is sound — they can easily service the lawn from the hotel and can clear away and wash up.”

Mr Kennedy also considered a proposal from Daryl Beech, who wanted to install a 12ft by 8ft structure on the river bank, or a small barge on the river, to sell drinks, cakes, sandwiches and ice creams.

Mr Beech said he would provide tables and chairs and hanging baskets and maintain the area.

Mr Kennedy said: “My recommendation is to give it to the hotel with the terms to be negotiated — it might be for only a couple of hours a day.

“In the hot summer evenings it could certainly be popular and at weekends. You could have champagne receptions, all sorts of things, and generate a small bit of income.”

Councillor Sam Evans supported the application, saying: “It is such a lovely area and is tucked away. They will put out tables and chairs and provide staff — let’s give them the opportunity.”

Councillor Ian Reissmann added: “We do have to bear in mind the ability of ordinary residents to continue to enjoy that facility, which we have put a lot of taxpayers’ money into.”

Mayor Stefan Gawrysiak suggested limiting the time the hotel could use the area to between noon and 6pm and only allow tables and chairs on half the space so there was room for people to walk around.

The committee approved the town clerk’s recommendation and authorised him to pursue a year-long licence agreement with the hotel.

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