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Havering's first micropub Upminster TapRoom wins pub of the year award

PUBLISHED: 09:00 13 March 2017 | UPDATED: 11:25 16 March 2017

Bob Knowles and Caroline Sheldon co-owners of the Upminster Tap Room

Bob Knowles and Caroline Sheldon co-owners of the Upminster Tap Room

Archant

A micropub that overcame council opposition to open has won a top industry award.

Micropub the Upminster Taproom had problems getting off the ground after Havering Council initially blocked its opening.Micropub the Upminster Taproom had problems getting off the ground after Havering Council initially blocked its opening.

The Upminster TapRoom, Sunnyside Gardens, Upminster, has won the title of South West Essex Camra Branch London Area Pub of the Year 2017, it was announced on Sunday, March 12.

The pub’s co-owner Caroline Sheldon said:“It’s absolutely incredible.

“It’s thanks to all the people who supported us from the get-go to see the achievement that we have made in such a short amount of time.”

In 2015, Cllr Ron Ower (East Havering Residents’ Group) feared the pub would bring parking and noise issues.

Bob Knowles checking the beer in the keg room.Bob Knowles checking the beer in the keg room.

“We were asked by residents to make representations to the council,” he said.

“Well done for winning the award. I hope they continue to serve the community and neighbours.”

Camra branch secretary Alan Barker said the TapRoom deserved the honour.

“It always has exceptional, well-kept beer, a good range and friendly staff.”

The pub specialises in real ale from micro breweries as well as cider, mead and wine.

There is no TV or music and customers face a £1 fine if caught using their mobile phone.

Despite a planning report recommending permission for Caroline and partner Bob Knowles to open the bar, Havering Council originally denied permission.

The couple appealed and obtained a Temporary Events Notice to open at weekends while the appeal was heard – but the council blocked it again at the last minute.

A Recorder poll in summer 2015 found 74 per cent of the 261 respondents were in favour of the pub opening and 262 people signed a petition supporting it.

“We wanted a pub that would be used as a community hub,” Caroline said.

“That is why it is so successful. We do a lot of work with charities and the community.

“It is the hub of the Upminster community.

“We get so much support locally it’s unbelievable. Everyone is welcome. There’s no phones, just real ale, cider, real people and conversation.”

The TapRoom will now face 12 other establishments nominated by other Camra branches in the next round of the competition covering the whole of London.

Winners will be announced in August.

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