A planning application to develop the Lovibonds site (19-21 Market Place) into 7 one-bedroom luxury flats has been refused by South Oxfordshire District Council on Friday.
Lovibonds has a long history in the town. In 1916 John Lovibond and Sons, Brewers and Wine Merchants opened a shop at the current site and traded there for a number of years. In 2005, current owner Jeff Rosenmeier re(formed) the name after taking over the site to brew a range of beers including Henley Gold, Henley Amber and Henley Dark. The site is used by Lovibonds as a Tasting Room, shop and community venue.
The original planning application by the Landlord, David Fitz-John was submitted in October 2017 and the plans were revised in March 2018. Henley Town Council Planning Committee recommended that the application should be refused and Henley Mayor, Councillor Glen Lambert campaigned to save Lovibonds which saw 174 local people and tourists completing 174 written objections to the loss of the historic and unique brewery venue in the heart of Henley.
The Planning Decision said, “The proposed development would result in the loss of an essential community facility in the form of a premises that provides a venue for regular events benefiting both the local community and tourists. The application does not provide any mechanism to secure alternative accessible premises in Henley Town Centre for these events. As such, the proposal would detract from the quality and convenience of everyday life in the settlement and would be contrary to Policy CF1 of the South Oxfordshire Local Plan 2011.”
On hearing the news Glen said, “This is the most wonderful news for the Lovibonds Brewery as a local small business, the wider community, the other local traders that depend on Lovibonds, the tourists who visit, the local bands and musicians that perform there and the people who go to see them. There is no venue as versatile in Henley town centre and it would have been a tragic loss had it been turned into luxury flats. I’m very happy that the right decision was made for Henley and hugely grateful to the hundreds of people who registered their objections or signed petitions – I am sure this helped alert the planning officer to the importance of the Lovibonds Tasting room to the community.”