"Bay Hotel sale on the cards?" by Sarah Thompson
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The plans were withdrawn after Lyme Regis Town Council objected to them and they were later re-submitted, this time for nine luxury apartments.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.