Monday, 20 September 2021

Brewery safe after flats plan is refused

A HENLEY microbrewery has been saved after plans to convert part of the building into flats were thrown out.

Residents and town councillors were opposed to the proposals, which could have meant the end of Lovibonds Brewery after more than 100 years in the town.

David Fitz-John, from Goring Heath, applied for planning permission for seven one-bedroom flats at the brewery in Market Place.

This sparked a wave of objections, including 165 from neighbours, as well as two petitions with 185 and 279 signatures.

Now South Oxfordshire District Council, the planning authority, has rejected the plans, saying the development would result in the loss of an “essential”
community facility. The council said Lovibonds Brewery provided a venue for regular events, benefiting both the community and tourists, and the applicant had not provided a mechanism to secure alternative premises in the town centre for these.

Mayor Glen Lambert, who had led the campaign to save the brewery, said: “With the current push for more and more housing, ever more densely packed and under huge pressure from the Government, landowners and developers, it is refreshing that it is still possible to safeguard the businesses and facilities that are the lifeblood of our town.

“In a little over a decade, this slice of Henley’s history has been resurrected and transformed into a vital community hub and tourist attraction.”

Mr Fitz-John already has consent to convert the first floor offices and the existing residential accommodation at the front of the site into four flats. He wanted to create three more by demolishing the lean-to brewery shed and retail storage building and removing the internal walls and stairs in the shop.

Mr Fitz-John said the council’s decision was “not a big deal”.

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