Sussex brewery in plea with council to grant them the Old Town Hall lease

The Old Town Hall, Horsham. photo by derek martin
The Old Town Hall, Horsham. photo by derek martin

SUSSEX brewer WJ King is calling on Horsham District Council to grant them the lease to run a cafe and ale house in Horsham Old Town Hall

With a 200 year tradition of brewing some of the most respected and enjoyed Sussex ales, WJ King says it has evolved into a new style of micro-brewery, using only the finest natural and local ingredients and traditional brewing techniques to produce the finest quality local ales.

In a press released issued this morning (Tuesday) the family-owned business outline its case for the council to grant them the lease.

They say it would be ‘the right decision for the market town in terms of cultural benefits, suitability and economic benefit’.

Their proposal to the council is that as there has been a working brewery in Horsham for over 200 years and the town is steeped in the history of brewing from the Maltsters to the Brewers.

As part of the proposal WJ King says they would create a small heritage centre to celebrate this rich history and they quote a poll on Facebook where residents backed the WJ King bid with over 80 per cent (172 people) of respondents preferring WJ King over Bills proposal, which received 44 votes.

In keeping with the renowned history of the building as a courthouse and community centre, WJ King have made a specific proposal to make a private meeting room available at discounted rates to local community groups.

Since taking over the brewery only two years ago, head brewer Ian Burgess and local entrepreneur, Nigel Lambe have invested almost £100,000 in improving the facility, doubled sales and increased the number of employees from six to 13.

WJ King have also supported or sponsored over 50 local community groups from Horsham and the surrounding areas.

The brewers say their proposal to the council is unique and will attract visitors to the town.

In a press release issued this morning a spokesman said: “Everything about WJ King is local, from the ingredients to the suppliers of merchandise and all of the staff, even the water sold in the café will be from their partners Life Water from local charity Drop4Drop and the café on the ground floor will be local Sussex based roastery Small Batch Coffee.”

Horsham District Council is expected to make a decision on the future of the old town hall tonight at 6pm at the council chamber at Park North, North Street, Horsham.

Bill’s Produce is recommended as the preferred bidder, with WJ King in second place and two freehold bids by Harvey Sands in third and fourth position.