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.