Wednesday, 02 December 2020

Plans to change The Catherine Wall criticised

PLANS to refurbish a Henley pub have been criticised by town councillors.

PLANS to refurbish a Henley pub have been criticised by town councillors.

JD Wetherspoon wants to make changes both inside and outside the Catherine Wheel in Hart Street, which is a listed buidling.

The work would include refurbishing and enlarging the beer garden by removing the car parking spaces in order to “increase the aesthetics” of the building and increase the pub’s appeal.

There would be fixed seating areas, a new timber canopy and new lighting.

The outside of the building would also be improved.

Architects Harrison Ince say: “The facades are in a state of disrepair and the proposals incorporate a dilapidation scheme. This will increase the longevity of the building, which is important with it being listed and in a conservation area.”

Inside, the layout would be changed in order to extend the kitchen and move the ladies’ toilets to the little-used conference room.

Harrison Ince says: “We believe that our proposals would complement the internal and external appearance of the building.

“Through the use of sympathetic design and the latest technology, JD Wetherspoon strives to provide the customer with a satisfying and memorable visit to its premises. The refurbishment of the public house and hotel will be in keeping with the style of the listed building.”

Henley Town Council’s planning committee recommended that the application is refused by South Oxfordshire District Council.

Chairman David Nimmo Smith said: “I don’t like the loss of parking spaces. There are six spaces and a disabled space and they would all go. It is not on.”

Vice-chairman Simon Smith said: “I think the extension of the beer garden would be detrimental to the neighbouring properties.”

Councillor Sam Evans added: “Can’t they get a new garden designer? It is the most sterile garden.”

There has been a pub called the Katherine Wheel in Henleu for centuries.

It was mentioned in a will of 1499 and in 1564 Le Katharine Whele paid a rent of one angel, or 100 old pence, towards the upkeep of the bridge.

Originally a fraction of its present size, the Catherine Wheel prospered during the 19th century as one of the town’s main coaching inns.

An earlier proprietor, William Atkins, was Mayor of Henley in 1679. He was one of several Henley tradesmen to issue trade tokens, which were used as small change.

Meanwhile, the owner of a former guest house has been granted permission to change the colour of the front door.

Katie Conroy, who took over Falaise House in Market Place last year, plans to change the colour from dark red to black gloss.

The back door and communal gates will also be repainted after the district council granted listed building consent.

Mrs Conroy said: “The doors and gates are in need of refurbishment but there is no intention to change or replace any of the doors or gates.

“The door knocker and door pull will be replaced with something very similar in old brass finish as these are very loose and tarnished.”

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