A renowned Horsham brewery’s proposal to relocate to Brinsbury College near Pulborough was approved by the council on Tuesday.
Hepworth and Co Brewers, based in Nightingale Road, submitted an application to Horsham District Council for two new buildings which contain a new brewery, visitor centre, offices, packaging room and warehouse.
The land, east of Stane Street, is currently used by Brinsbury to graze horses kept at the college, and a new brewery could see students working and studying as part of a qualification at Hepworth.
The successful business has been seeking a new premises since 2011 after its landlord signalled the intention to redevelop the site.
After the meeting Andy Hepworth, the company’s managing director, said: “I’m very pleased and very thankful for the support of the councillors and the officers involved.”
During the meeting he said the business had outgrown its existing premises and had to move urgently.
Plans received resounding support from members of HDC’s Development Control South Committee.
Philip Circus (Con, Chanctonbury) said: “If we look at the corporate objectives of Horsham District Council number one is to support the local economy and we have always said if these words mean something, if they are not just words to look good on an annual report, if we get an application like this that is going to support and encourage and support local employment then we must do all in our power to support it.”
Brian Donnelly (Con, Pulborough and Coldwaltham) added: “It’s a no-brainer, I think what the applicant has done over the last few years you find it’s everything you want. You want entrepreneurship, you want innovation and you want job creation.”
He added: “The fact we have got this little brewer coming in is wonderful. It’s great, it’s amazing.”
To chuckles from several members Gordon Lindsay (Con, Billingshurst and Shipley) said: “This is an excellent development. It’s an excellent company and I would personally recommend its products.”
But Diana Van Der Klugt (Con, Chantry) expressed her disappointment that the location of the new brewery was so visible from the road, and also raised road safety concerns.
She explained: “It’s a very very fast road the A29 and it’s very narrow. We should be satisfied that it will be safe for vehicles to turn in and out.”
However Mr Donnelly countered: “I think we should move forward with this.
“To do anything else I really think is totally daft.”
Plans will ensure the retention of 28 jobs.
Andy Tilbrook, speaking for Pulborough Parish Council, said: “It provides a very very good opportunity for local youth employment which is in sadly short supply in Pulborough parish.”
David Jenkins (Con, Chanctonbury), chairman of the committee, proposed that approval not be granted until a landscape plan was submitted and agreed.
After speaking with officers this was changed so that no development could commence until a landscape plan was agreed.
Mr Lindsay added a note of caution and said: “Lets not go overboard and put bureaucratic barriers in the way.”