Brewery listing bid rejected
A BID to list a historic brewery site in order to preserve its character for future generations has failed.Essex County Council and Uttlesford District Council had requested extra protection for the former Ridley's brewery at Hartford End, south of Felsted, which has been taken over by Suffolk brewer Greene King.
By Sharon Asplin
A BID to list a historic brewery site in order to preserve its character for future generations has failed.
Essex County Council and Uttlesford District Council had requested extra protection for the former Ridley's brewery at Hartford End, south of Felsted, which has been taken over by Suffolk brewer Greene King.
But following consultations with English Heritage, Tessa Jowell, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, has decided not to list the premises.
The minister found that, although the building was of local significance, the mid 19th Century evolved rural brewery had been substantially altered and did not have sufficient architectural and historic interest to merit listing.
David Gregory, who represents the Felsted ward on Uttlesford District Council, said: “Speaking with my local village hat on, this is a key building on the approach to the village and a gateway site. It has been in the brewing industry since it was first built and it is a pity the trade has not been able to continue there.
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“Although I can understand some of the reasons given by English Heritage, we had hoped that by listing it we might encourage an independent brewer to brew there so we are very saddened by the news.
“My main concern is what happens to the site now and the parish council needs to sit down with Uttlesford District Council and Greene King to consider what's suitable.”
A spokesman for Uttlesford District Council said the council was “disappointed” by the decision.
He said: “The council will urge the present owners to secure the future of the old brewery building by a suitable conversion to an alternative use.”
Peter Martin, Essex County Council's cabinet member for planning, environment and culture, said the recommendation for listing Ridley's Brewery was made to English Heritage because it was the only surviving working Victorian brewery in Essex which retained early brewing apparatus and many original and later 19th Century buildings.
“As the survey by the historic environment branch of Essex County Council concluded that Hartford End Brewery was a regionally important site,” he said.
“We are obviously disappointed that the brewery wasn't listed and have some concerns about its future.”
Last night Richard Crewe-Read, Greene King corporate property manager, said although there was no longer any brewing on the Hartford End site, the company would continue to bottle there until May next year.
“The decision by English Heritage not to list the site was not totally unexpected, but equally, it doesn't alter our intention to work in conjunction with the community, to sell the site to sympathetic developers and to get the best possible results for all concerned.
“It is quite possible that some employment on the site will be maintained through the retention of the modern offices. We are currently considering letting these on a fully serviced, temporary basis."
Bury St Edmunds-based Greene King closed the 163-year-old brewery at the beginning of September. It is continuing to sell four of the Ridley's beer brands including Old Bob and Tolly Original but some brands such as Ridley's IPA have now disappeared.