Cambridge

Popular Cambridge microbrewery fights off closure threat to taproom

A city microbrewery has seen off the threat of having to shut their taproom after neighbours raised concerns about noise and anti-social behaviour.

Calverleys Brewery was started by the Calverly brothers in 2013. Initially, the pair set up a microbrewery and brewed beer. In 2016, they set up a “taproom” in Hooper Street in Cambridge serving beer on site, with indoor seating and an open courtyard next to the railway tracks.

The venue, dubbed a “pop-up pub” has gained a reputation as one of the more unusual spots for a drink in the city, but yesterday (December 5) its fate hung in the balance as councillors debated whether it should be allowed to continue selling drink on site, or whether it should revert to simply being a brewery.

Despite having a license to sell alcohol, Calverleys did not have planning permission to operate as a drinking establishment. A planning application was put in to Cambridge City Councils planning committee seeking retrospective planning application for the change of use of the existing buildings from Class B2 microbrewery to Class B2 micro-brewery and Class A4 Drinking establishment.

The venue, dubbed a “pop-up pub” has gained a reputation as one of the more unusual spots for a drink in the city (Image: Tom Pilgrim)

Speaking at the committee meeting, Sam Calverley (one of the microbrewerys founders) said they had deliberately limited the opening and operating hours of the taproom to make sure they didnt impact on the residential area they are located in, and avoided the “problems associated with late night drinking”.

Mr Calverley said that, despite closing earlier than nearby pubs, they found their business “under threat”.

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Mill Road

Cllr Richard Robertson, who represents Petersfield at the city council, said the taproom was in the most densely populated residential area in the city. He said there was noise from drinkers in the courtyard which impacted on nearby houses. Cllr Robertson also said the venue attracted food vans which “parked illegally” in the area, and that there had been instances of anti-social behaviour in the area.

“I think these premises are suited to brewing beer,” said Cllr Robertson. “And good on them for doing it. They can make beer and sell it elsewhere.”

Cllr Dave Baigent, who represents nearby Romsey, said the venue was causing neighbours “considerable discomfort”.

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Eating out in Cambridge

Cllr John Hipkin, who represents Castle ward in the city, said he “hated to come across as a tiresome bureaucrat”, but pointed out that “pop-up pubs” should not simply be allowed to set up in the city without proper planning permission.

The committee ultimately decided to approve the change of use to allow Calverleys to continue operating as a taproom as well as a microbrewery. They have been given a period of two years to prove they can reduce anti-social behaviour and keep noise levels to a minimum for neighbours.

Committee chairman Martin Smart said there had to be a balance between “encouraging entrepreneurs” and making sure concerned residents were listened to. He said Calverleys now had an opportunity to demonstrate how it can operate without having a negative impact on neighbours.

The opening hours will be Thursday and Friday evenings 5pm to 10.30pm, and Saturdays 11am to 10.30pm.

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