Borough’s first micropub Upminster Tap Room finally set to open

Bob Knowles outside his Micropub in Upminster which is facing planning objections from the council

Bob Knowles outside his Micropub in Upminster which is facing planning objections from the council - Credit: Archant

Havering’s first micropub will finally open after a drawn-out battle between its owners and councillors took another twist.

Upminster Tap Room, on the corner of Sunnyside Gardens and St Mary’s Lane, will welcome ale oficiandos for the first time on July 31.

It had been slated to open in May after owners Caroline Sheldon and Robert Knowles were granted an alcohol licence, but in a dramatic turn of events, planning committee councillors went against the advice of officers and rejected the change of use application.

The couple have now been given a temporary events notice, allowing them to open for seven weekends while they appeal the decision.

“It’ll be good to finally open, we’ve put so much money into it,” said Caroline, 59.

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“It’s all been really unfair. We’ve done everything legally and nine out of 10 people can’t wait for it.

“As soon as we put the banner up we had councillors going round asking residents what they thought about it. Shouldn’t it be the other way round? Shouldn’t residents be going to councillors if they have a problem?”

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Councillors rejected the application because the location was too residential and they were concerned about the noise.

The pub is at the top of a residential street, near the junction of a busy town centre road. It is opposite a petrol station and near an Indian restaurant.

Upminster councillors Ron Ower, Linda Hawthorn and Linda Van Den Hende have sent a letter to residents explaining the situation and how the owners have been able to open.

Cllr Ower said: “I think it’s a bit sneaky. We hoped they would have waited and gone through the appeal process.

“We presume they are trying to test the water and see what support they will get. We are hoping and praying there are no problems.”

The Tap Room will be open from 11am-11pm Friday to Saturday for seven weekends, a total of 21 days. The appeal process “could take months”.

Micropubs have become more popular over the last few years. They offer local ales and bar snacks but shun any electronic devices – focusing instead on “good ale and conversation”.

A Recorder poll found 74 per cent of 261 people were in favour of the pub.

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