A campaign has been launched to save Surrey’s oldest craft brewery following fears the land is going to be sold off to make way for flats.
The Pilgrim Brewery has been on West Street inyabo.netsince 1984 and supporters say it represents "everything that is good" about the town.
However, the property company which owns the land it stands on is understood to be looking to sell and it’s thought the area could be earmarked for development.
Customers have now launched a ‘Save Our Brewery’ petition on Change.org to get Reigate and Banstead Borough Council to assign Asset of Community Value status to the premises, which would give it greater protection.
The petition now has close to 5,000 signatures.
Julian Griffiths, who started it last week, said: “I have been a supporter of Pilgrim since before the new owners took over but since they did, the brewery and tap room has become a central hub for the community.
"It represents everything that is good about Reigate - history, craft, conversation, good food, good beer and a place to meet like-minded friends new and old.
“Pilgrim Brewery are also a great supporter of, and participant in, local voluntary groups and organisations."
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She added the petition was proof of a "great show of support" from the community and warned any attempt to take it away from the town would meet "significant conversation, debate and resistance".
One resident who signed the petition said Pilgrim was “an integral part of Reigate town centre,” adding: “We don’t need flats on this site - it will change the character of the town.
"And after all Pilgrim’s tireless work to keep going through the pandemic it’s a kick in the teeth.”
“It must stay open!” said another, who added: “The Pilgrim is a hugely important part of the Reigate community, providing jobs and also a unique place to meet and socialise.”
Co-owner Rory Fry-Stone said the brewery was very important to the community.
“Pilgrim Brewery is the oldest independent brewery in the South East and London area and when it was founded in 1982 it was the first new brewery in Surrey for over 100 years,” he said.
Mr Fry-Stone said that although he and co-owner Adrian Rothera had been served notice and given six months to vacate, they were still determined to save the facility.
“We are in communication with the freeholder to see if we can work something out together,” he said. “Maybe come to some sort of agreement.”
He also said he had been “bowled over” by the response from the community, and that plenty of people had visited to show their support.
“We absolutely respect it,” he said.
“We now have to take that support and make it count.”
See the petition online atChange.org.
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