Merchant's House granted a further seven year lease at a peppercorn rent

Written by Neil Goodwin on .

At Monday evening's meeting of the full Town Council Councillors voted overwhelmingly to renew the lease of The Merchant's House for a further seven years.

Councillors expressed support for the Merchant's House and its importance to the town.

"It's one of the best thousand best houses in Britain, in Simon Jenkins' book" stated Cllr Nick Fogg, adding that it was a vision of the late Michael Gray to create The Merchant's House as it is today, "And that it brings lots of people in to the town, and even more important it's engaged the town, maybe millions of hours have been put in by volunteers".

"We should recognise the historic significance of this building and what it's done for this town" pointed out Cllr Guy Loosemore, "We owe it to the trust and to our forebears who supported this whole initiative from the start and that we should continue to support this on the same basis going forward"

"We do not own this house, it's the people of Marlborough" noted Cllr Brian Castle, "and I'd encourage the Trustees to continue what they've started which is to have free open days for members of the town".

Merchant's House Trust chair Clyde Nancarrow thanked the Council for their continued support, noting that he couldn't exaggerate how important it was for the peppercorn rent to continue, and that "Whilst "no money has changed hands, it's probably the most generous financial gift we have ever received"... "The decision to buy the Merchant's House was a "brave one, it was a wise one, and one which I think was a community decision".

He added that in the future "It should never ever become just a 'historic' House"... "it should be a part of the town, must have involvement in the town, and we want as many of the towns people through the door every year as we can have" he added.

Councillors voted unanimously to agree to a further seven year lease.