There is no alternative to Marlborough College buying the Ivy House Hotel
I've been watching the latest rising crescendo over Marlborough College's proposal to purchase the Ivy House Hotel and want to get some balance into the situation. I have no connection to the College, either past or present.
As Councillor Fogg knows only too well, there are many people who support the College because they cannot see any way forward to preserve the fabric of the building other than by the College's involvement.
To the best of my knowledge, no firm offer was ever received by the owners of the hotel to counter that made by the College. The investment to maintain the building is substantial and only the College have those funds at their disposal.
I have lived 15 metres to the rear of the Ivy House in River Park for 40 years and can say that on the whole, the bed and breakfast customers leave in their cars the following morning and carry on to their destination - there is little added value for the town. The hotel has not provided lunch or dinner for years and it is bed and breakfast only run by an excellent staff.
I am looking forward to having some stability in the situation with the College taking over the premises. It is ridiculous to talk about security problems caused by 'drunks' in the town. Who honestly believes such behaviour would be tolerated, or even whether it would take place?
This is scaremongering and where were the so called 'very interested parties' when the crunch came and the hotel owner wanted to see the colour of their money? Nowhere to be seen.
Furthermore, Councillor Fogg is also aware that the Planning Inspector who was required to make the final decision on appeal was legally bound to base his decision on written submissions already made during the exhaustive planning procedure and he was not free to interview people even if he had wanted to.
Finally, what has always worried me is what would happen if the Ivy House owners were 'made' to keep the hotel against their wishes and then the place eventually closed. Then what? A Wetherspoon's pub? a Nightclub? a Gym? I wonder what the objectors to the College would think then?