Save The Three Cups Hotel

The Three Cups Hotel

Campaigning for preservation of the hotel where J.R.R. Tolkien stayed and gained inspiration for his mythology. Jane Austen, G.K. Chesterton, Tennyson and H.W. Longfellow were also guests. The hotel featured in the film, “The French Lieutenant’s Woman”. Please send articles to me, Andrew Townsend, at or add a comment. Thanks to David Moss for all his work. Comments are closed at WDDC for the plans to redevelop the site but you can still write to the papers.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Extract from Lyme Regis Society March 2005 Newsletter

Written by the member of the LRS Committee who is responsible for planning matters

As many will know, the application to turn the Bay Hotel into flats was refused by District Councillors despite officers’ recommendation to approve. This refusal was the result of four weeks’ hard work by an ad hoc group of objectors, who researched the council’s Local Plans, came up with nine Policies which the application contravened, and mailed a complete and comprehensive analysis to all members of the Planning Committee, supported by sixty letters of objection and a petition which acquired 400 names in one day. Thank you also to the some sixty residents who came to the planning meeting to give us support.

In all such decisions there is a tension between an owner’s right to do what he likes with his property, and his obligations to the community which sustains him. Clearly it is possible for an applicant to capitalise on the attractiveness of the seafront and the town into which he has bought, but there may then be a disadvantage to the town if such an application is approved. It is to be hoped that the owner will not appeal against the refusal, but that the hotel (and garage) will now continue to function in a way that will provide benefits to the community.

We hope that this decision will encourage the District Council to look more closely and critically at any further applications for change of use of hotels.

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Sunday, March 13, 2005

Bay Hotel Saved

Economic conditions seem to be unfavourable for hotels in Lyme Regis and the Bay Hotel which is very close to the Three Cups was under threat of being converted into flats. Thankfully, prompt action by the Lyme Regis Society and local residents has saved the hotel for the time being. See the Links column for more details from the Lyme Regis News and the Newsletter of the Lyme Regis Society.

It is great to see the local community working together to save their heritage like this but I can't help thinking that hotels like the Bay and the Three Cups will not be safe until the market for "cultural tourism" expands. The drivers by which such a change may be brought about are probably located elsewhere e.g. with regional and national tourist boards and special interest groups. More on this later.

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Friday, March 04, 2005

"Bay Hotel sale on the cards?" by Sarah Thompson

Lyme Regis News, Friday 4th March 2005

The owner of the Bay Hotel, Lyme Regis, remains tightlipped over rumours that he wants to sell the hotel and its Coombe Street garage for £1.5m.

Larry Gibbons said: "All will be revealed when I choose to reveal it. I have no further comment".

The News, however, learnt this week that Mr Gibbons had finally decided to sell the 19-bed hotel and its garage after his planning application to convert it into luxury apartments was turned down.

Hundreds of Lyme Regis residents signed a petition to fight his application which councillors turned down last month because it meant the loss of a community facility and employment.

Since then there has been speculation over the owner’s plans for the 1920s hotel and whether he would be appealing against the refusal.

This week the News heard from a source close to Mr Gibbons that he could be prepared to sell the Bay, but not for less than £1.5m.

Mr Gibbons bought the seafront landmark in 2003 and submitted his first planning application to convert it into 10 apartments shortly afterwards.

The plans were withdrawn after Lyme Regis Town Council objected to them and they were later re-submitted, this time for nine luxury apartments.

The controversial plans also included a steam room, sauna, plunge pool and a small shop.

Local feeling ran high about the Bay and residents launched a campaign to save it going the way of other hotels in the town, such as the Buena Vista.

This week town mayor Barbara Austin responded to the news that Mr Gibbons could be selling the hotel at last.

She said: "Marine Parade has always been our shop window and the Bay Hotel has been part of that for years.

"It has always been a tip-top hotel and it’s nice to know that it is going to stay that way. I hope that whoever takes it on makes a great success of it. I appreciate Mr Gibbons’s dilemma, but so many hotels closing leaves such a big gap in the town."

Fans of the Inspector Morse novels will also be pleased to hear the hotel is out of the woods.

Colin Dexter’s novel, The Way Through the Woods, is set at the Bay Hotel and members of the Inspector Morse Society unveiled a plaque in his honour there last year.

Fans, especially Germans, apparently like to stay in room 27, the room where Morse stayed in the book.

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