Traders launch their own petition against loss of Ivy House Hotel

Written by Gerald Isaaman.

A petition opposing the conversion of the Ivy House Hotel into a dormitory for girl students at Marlborough College has been launched by Marlborough Chamber of Commerce.

The Chamber has issued a petition form seeking signatures from traders and professional service providers against the latest proposals for a change of use for the grade II listed hotel.

The Chamber itself has already formally written to Wiltshire Council against the scheme, which the council’s own planning committee, as well as Marlborough town council, have voted against.

But with the prospect of the College’s application going to an appeal planning inquiry, the Chamber is now asking its members to sign a petition, to be presented at the inquiry.

This is part of a new initiative backed by Paul Shimell, the Chamber’s newly-elected president, who is the proprietor of Marlborough’s Specsavers franchise.

“We all realise the importance of the Ivy House staying as a hotel, with the potential of greater things happening in the future,” he told Marlborough News Online. “We as community need to help make this happen.”

“If Marlborough can retain the Ivy House, then it will generate jobs, revenue, and continue to attract visitors to stay within our town.  And that is vital.”

The petition says:  “We are looking for the Marlborough business community to add their weight to the objections and would ask you to please sign and return the attached petition as soon as possible.”

“It is important for the Marlborough economy to ensure that the Ivy House remains as a hotel as it is estimated that it contributes more than £ 1 million a year, a significant contribution in these difficult times.”

“So please take a couple of minutes to read the attached and return a signed to copy to show your support for this objection to the proposed change of use.”

High Street jeweller David Dudley has already protested to Marlborough town council about the project, pointing out the adverse effect the loss of the hotel would have on Marlborough’s economy especially following the road restrictions introduced while the Pewsey Road bridge was replaced.

“The delays in building a new bridge were bad enough, and, as I write, five shops are now on the market,” said Mr Dudley. “If this lack of concern continues, the town will die on its feet, as is happening to many towns around the country.”

“It is Wiltshire Council’s and Marlborough town council’s responsibility to preserve the character and commerce of the town.  Many customers now go to Devizes and Hungerford to shop after the bridge fiasco.”

“So it is your responsibility to bring life back into our historic market town.”

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