Friday, 12 August 2022

Brewery could lose shop and live music

THE future of a Henley microbrewery is far from certain as it will lose its shop and tasting room if the site is converted into flats.

Last week the Henley Standard revealed how Lovibonds had secured new premises on the outskirts of town but this is only for its beer and bottling production and has been in place for several months.

Owner Jeff Rosenmeier is not permitted to use it as a retail space so will lose his sales outlet if the redevelopment of the Market Place premises goes ahead.

Town councillor Glen Lambert, who is one of hundreds of residents to have joined the campaign to keep Lovibonds at its town centre site, said: “Everything that could be moved to the [new] facility was moved months ago.

“The retail business in the tasting room cannot move to the same location.

“Two retail employees work in the tasting room. Those jobs will be lost as no retailing is possible at the brewing premises.”

David Fitz-John, from Goring Heath, has applied for permission to convert the premises into seven one-bedroom flats. He already has consent to convert the first floor offices and the existing residential accommodation at the front of the site into four flats and is now proposing to create three more by demolishing the lean-to brewery shed and retail storage building and by removing the walls and stairs in the shop.

More than 450 people have supported the campaign against the plans.

Mr Rosenmeier, who set up Lovibonds in 2005, wrote on Twitter that it was the company’s tasting room and barrel store that were in jeopardy, not the brewery itself.

The brewery runs tours, a beer school and an annual hop-picking event, as well as showcasing live music and hosting a number of charitable and community events.

The application says the site has planning and listed buildings consent for change of use of the offices and conversion of the existing residential accommodation.

The district council was due to make a decision yesterday (Thursday).

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