College’s new boarding house gets a thumbs up from councillors

Written by Peter Davison on .

The horseshoe shaped building is inspired by nearby rural courtyard buildingsThe horseshoe shaped building is inspired by nearby rural courtyard buildingsCouncillors who pooh-poohed a new designs for a new boarding house for Marlborough College have welcomed a redesign, after the public school went – literally – back to the drawing board.

In March last year, members of Marlborough Town Council’s planning committee were critical of the designs for the major new development at the gateway to the town.

Although they voted 6-4 not to oppose the planning application they urged Marlborough College to rethink the design.

On Monday night, College bosses were back before the committee, having instructed award-winning London architects Allies & Morrison to come up with something better… and the mood could not have been different.

Last Spring, councillor Nick Fogg had described the original design as “mediocre” and resembling “a 19th Century barracks”.

This week, to the obvious delight of the College’s director of estates, Bill Roe, and director of corporate resources Peter Bryan, he praised the College for taking the council’s concerns seriously.

“A very distinguished building” and “potentially award winning” were among the plaudits he delivered. Mayor Noel Barrett-Morton and councillors Margaret Rose and Alexander Kirk Wilson were equally as enthusiastic.

Councillor Guy Loosmore was also happier, although he said the specifications of the building materials would be very important in delivering “a building of architectural merit.”

The only voice of dissent came from councillor Richard Allen, who wanted a proper archaeological survey of the site – close to The Mound and Marlborough’s long-demolished castle – conducted.

Mr Roe said excavation trenches had revealed “nothing significant” and insisted the developers would be mindful of the historic importance of the site as building progressed.

Councillors voted 6 to 1 in favour of the application, which will now go before Wiltshire Council’s Eastern Area Planning Committee.

If granted planning permission, the 71-bed girls’ boarding house will be built at Elmhurst Triangle, an area of green space on the A4, opposite the Memorial Hall.

Named Dancy House after former Master, John Dancy, who introduced girls to the College for the first time nearly 50 years ago, the College hopes the doors to the new facility will open in time for the start of the 2018 school year.

* The committee also unanimously supported proposed alteration to the Memorial Hall, including the opening up of the window set to form a new door set on the western side, and the addition of access for wheelchair users.

And members unanimously supported a change of use at the College’s Westholme on Hyde Lane from residential accommodation to residential boarding accommodation, and the erection of a single storey extension at the rear of the property.