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Planning a new brewery – Part 2

Posted on Sunday, March 9th, 2014

 Westerham Brewery one step closer to coming back to town

Another article from the Sevenoaks Chronicle – 2 March 2013

Robert Wicks of the Westerham Brewery at the site where he wants to open a new brewery and winery at Charman's Farm in Westerham on Tuesday 21st May

Robert Wicks of the Westerham Brewery at the site where he wants to open a new brewery and winery at Charman’s Farm in Westerham on Tuesday 21st May

Westerham Brewery’s much-anticipated return to the town passed its first hurdle after gaining the support of the town council.

A meeting of Westerham Town Council’s planning and development committee was held on Thursday to consider the planning application submitted by the brewery and the Squerryes Estate.

Robert Wicks, of Westerham Brewery, and Henry Warde, of Squerryes, want to build the new facility at Charmans Farm, on Beggars Lane.

The site, owned by Squerryes, is currently broadly derelict and the pair hope to bring the brewery back to the town to re-engage Westerham residents with this historic industry.

Chairing the meeting, councillor Philip Ashley agreed with a pre-application report from a Sevenoaks District Council planning officer that the proposed building would be an inappropriate development in the Green Belt as it is larger than the sawmill it will replace.

But Mr Warde and Mr Wicks have put forward a number of very special circumstances including the poor condition of the existing sawmill building which will be knocked down.

They say the building is not currently making a positive contribution to the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty while the proposed modern facility will result in an overall benefit to the area’s appearance.

Cllr Ashley said the pair had made “a strong case on the special circumstances” which underpin this proposal and saw the advantage of moving the brewery away from its current home at Grange Farm, Crockham Hill.

“The relocation of the brewery will also improve the traffic flows in Crockham Hill,” he said, “so there is a benefit there by moving it closer to the A25.

“And overall we will put forward a recommendation for the application on the grounds of special circumstances.”

Cllr Linda Rodgers supported the application on the grounds it would bring jobs to the town.

“There is scope for more employment for Westerham as the new facility will be employing 22 people,” she said. “Those jobs will be available to local people.”

Cllr David le Breton was also supportinve of the brewery returning to Westerham.

“I am thoroughly in favour of it because I think it’s remarkably unobtrusive in the Green Belt,” he said. “It is swapping one bit of the Green Belt for this one.

“Most developments of this size involve huge towers, chimneys and masts b there is nothing like that here.

“It’s a low-level farm-type building and it is using local products and it will be extremely beneficial to the local economic community.”

The proposed building will measure 42m by 18m and brewing production will be 24 hours a day Monday to Friday, and 7am to 7pm on Saturdays.

As part of the plans there will be 44 parking spaces and it is hoped the building will be clad in oak weatherboarding planted at Westerham Wood.

The scheme has already received an overwhelmingly positive response on the council’s planning website with many comments received in favour of the move.

Adrian Stockman from Madan Road said: “I believe the proposed development would encourage more local people to socialise in Westerham as well as attracting visitors to the area and could be valuable and scenic addition to the Westerham landscape.”

And Paul Bailey-Smith from Sutherland Avenue, Biggin Hill, said: “I fully support this proposal to bring a valuable commercial entity back to Westerham.

“The site is more or less derelict and the brewery and winery can only be an asset, both financial and cultural to the area.”

Comments can be submitted to the council until March 12.


Planning a new brewery – Part 1

Posted on Monday, February 24th, 2014

So here we are finally ready to jump hurdle number one in the odyssey to move the brewery into the Town of Westerham. Working closely with the Squerryes Estate we have now submitted plans to Sevenoaks District Council for planning permission to demolish the existing derelict sawmill building at Charmans Farm, Beggars Lane, Westerham, TN16 1QP to construct a new building to house the brewery and the Squerryes Estate Winery.

The arguments we have put forward for the very special circumstances exception to development in the green belt include the fact that we have outgrown our existing facilities at Grange Farm and we are unable to house any more staff on our existing premises.  If we are to continue to grow our business we need increased storage facilities.

We plan to sink a borehole at the farm to draw water from the same greensand aquifer that supplied the Black Eagle Brewery until it closed in 1965.  We hope you will agree that bringing the brewery back to Westerham will be good for the brewery and good for the Town.

In the meantime here are some drawings and plans of the new brewery.  If you want to comment on the plans before the deadline of 12 March 2014 then click here.

Brewery & Winery Plans

Cross Section of Brewery

New Brewery Elevations

Charmans Farm Site Plan


Westerham Wins Fine Farm Produce Awards

Posted on Friday, November 1st, 2013

For the sixth year in a row, Westerham Brewery has won the National Trust Fine Farm Produce awards for its craft beers.  Five bottled beers were entered in for judging and all five were awarded the coveted Fine Farm Produce award.

The awards, supported by Freedom Food and now in their eighth year, celebrate the breadth and quality of produce grown, reared or made on special places owned or managed by the National Trust, including tenant farms, orchards and gardens.

Rob Macklin, Head of Food and Farming at the National Trust and chair of the judging panel, said:  “This year’s award winning foods have really captured the essence of the special place where they have been grown, bred or produced.  It is our aim to really connect customers to where their food comes from and these awards are a great way for us to do this.

“Since 2006, over 250 products have received a Fine Farm Produce Award and this year’s winners will join a group of some of the very best producers that the country has to offer.”

Viceroy India Pale Ale was a first time winner this year.  Click here for details

Fine-Farm-Produce-Awards-2013