Misleading Inaccuracies Submitted on Lovibonds Economic Development Report

The consultation for the planning application to develop 19-21 Market Place, the site currently home to Lovibonds, into 7 one-bedroom luxury flats has now closed.

Over 175 objections were logged by local residents and visitors with many stating the importance of the listed building‘s brewing history for tourism, the value of the community hub and its support of community events, charities and initiatives and the affect on an established local business.

The South Oxfordshire District Officers including housing, health, highways etc. have all submitted their responses. The Economic Development response submitted by Dr Melanie Smans to the Chief Planning Officer, Paul Lucas unfortunately includes misleading inaccuracies “the applicant (the Landlord David Fitz-John) has advised that the brewery have secured alternative premises for the brewery on the outskirts of Henley and that production and their core business activities will not be disrupted by these proposals or result in loss of employment. It is the decision of the business whether to continue to deliver the tasting school and events at the new premises.”

Henley Town Councillor, Glen Lambert who is leading the ‘Save the Lovibonds’ campaign said, “Lovibonds has relocated its brewing and bottling facility over the last year but the implication that the tasting room can relocate to these premises and retain its employees is completely false! The lease Lovibonds has on their brew facility specifically forbids retail activity. It is an industrial unit, which I have visited, that is completely unsuitable for members of the public and is behind security gates that are kept locked. The threat posed by the planning application to Lovibonds as a small business, its tasting room staff and the historic community venue in the heart of Henley has not changed and we still need planning permission refused.”

SODC’s target decision date for the application is 30 November but this will now be missed unless the Chief Planning Officer makes an independent decision to refuse the application.

  1. Glen Lambert says:

    A little more background info for those interested.

    Lovibonds beers were, for many years, actually brewed at the Luxters facility in Hambledon. The tasting room under threat at 19-21 Market Place has always been the customer facing, retail side of the brewery and the unique and valued community asset we are desperate to save.

    In October 2016, Lovibonds secured premises for its brewing operations on the outskirts of Henley and then moved from Hambledon. This move was completed several months ago.

    It is the accidental conflation of this relocation with the current threat to the Tasting Room that has caused confusion.

    The tasting room is a vital part of the Lovibonds business & revenue for which no suitable replacement has been found. It is also a vital community asset, historic tourist attraction and, in keeping with tradition, beer is still brewed there to this day.

    Every year in early September, Lovibonds stage an open event known locally as “Hop Picking Day” where locals and craft brewing enthusiasts from further afield gather at the Tasting Room to pick the hops grown there and brew a one-off batch of “Fresh Hop” beer which is traditionally released to the public at the Henley Christmas Festival. It then remains available on-tap in the tasting room until it runs out and the wait begins for the next batch!

    The entire “Fresh Hop” brewing process takes place at the Tasting Room at 19-21 Market Place keeping the tradition of brewing at the historic brewery in the centre of Henley alive and involving the community in the process. Some even contribute hops grown in their own gardens to create a beer that is truly, a product of the community.

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