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.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Another Item for the Agenda

I'm sure that the meeting in Lyme Regis on 5th June to discuss the future of The Three Cups Hotel will be an exciting affair with many ideas under examination. Here is another one.

A BBC report, "New plans to stop 'ghost towns'", describes goverment plans to find new uses for high street shops which have lost their traditional customers to the recession or out of town malls.

As far as I am aware, The Three Cups Hotel is the only derelict commercial property on Broad Street so the overall situation in Lyme Regis is not as bad as Stockport (featured in the BBC report) but this government inititative offers help to those working to re-open empty business premises.

I don't think that there is any need to consider a change of use for The Three Cups. Twenty years ago, traditional customers may have gone elsewhere but now there is a growing market this famous hotel:

- as a Jurassic Coast study centre
- as a destination for cultural tourists
- accommodation for cultural tourists
- as a tourist attraction in itself

As stated previously, cultural tourists and visitors could include those interested in Tolkien, Jane Austen, Beatrix Potter, G.K. Chesterton, Hilaire Belloc, Lord Tennyson, Turner, Whistler and Charlie Chaplin. Lyme Regis can also expect more visitors as fewer British people take their holidays abroad.

Hopefully all the above would prevent Broad Street in Lyme Regis from ever being blighted again by a commercial property left empty for so long.

However, if plans for compulsory purchase of the hotel are to go ahead, a business plan for the new owners must be put together and any help the government can give would be most welcome.


Blogger ullu said…

Firstly - I'm so pleased we're doing something about the 3cups... well done for keeping this blog going.

Thought I'd add my ha'penny to the discussion on what could be done post-compulsory purchase...

I think the Government has quite a few options for setting up and running a community business.

I recently worked for On this site there is some really useful information on setting up social enterprises

"a business with primarily social objectives whose surpluses are principally reinvested for that purpose in the business or in the community, rather than being driven by the need to maximise profit for shareholders and owners."

I know that all the information on the site should have been checked by a Government official in the past year, so should be fairly up to date.

Its well worth a read as it does a fairly good job of explaining the legal intricacies of setting up a social enterprise.

Although I'm not sure which type of social enterprise would be best for Lyme?

There's also a link to who might be able to offer some useful advice on how a social enterprise might be best suited to the three cups future needs.

Having read the intro... what is the possible future management style and mission of the three cups community business?

I guess the crucial factors are obtaining, setting-up and maintaining the right resources to make the three cups an ongoing success for Lyme and the local community.

The good thing I can see about a Community Interest Company is that it offers the chance for shares to be issued with a capped dividend being paid. This may enable private sources of funding to be sought from a variety of interested parties - which may be critical in establishing the three cups as an ongoing business...

I guess I can't see how a charity or local council-led body could run a hotel. Then again, just read more about "Charitable incorporated organisations" which may be another option to consider? Doesn't seem like its available until late 2009, though...

I think all of Andrew's suggestions should be pursued... Lyme is quiet in the off-season, so a hotel complimenting a community centre could work very well. Both would have their own sources of funding which could mean the two could be happily co-dependent.

These social enterprises seem to offer the legal entity to run a hotel and community centre side by side, so perhaps worth discussing?

Sorry I won't be there on the 5th - but I look forwards to continued progress.

Blogger Andrew Townsend said…

Many thanks, ullu, for that helpful information. I will make sure it is considered at the meeting on 5th June along with other proposals. I'm very hopeful that the time has finally come for this cultural treasure and golden business opportunity to be brought back to life so that it can become the engine to revive the economy of Lyme Regis.


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