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.

Sunday, June 07, 2009


Palmers clearly felt they needed (just one day before the “Save the Three Cups” Action Meeting in Lyme) to issue a press release to take the headline of Lyme News saying they intended to appoint architects to prepare plans for a multi million pound "makeover" for The Three Cups. We wonder if they still think it was wise to have put out such a release….

In fact their plan was discussed at the Public Meeting in Lyme Regis, next day, on 5th June and an extraordinary number of attenders (235) voted unanimously by 235 people to 0 to completely reject Palmers’ newly announced plan for commercial units, restaurant and high quality flats. Instead the 235 people present all voted unanimously in favour of re-opening the Three Cups as a hotel, and retaining the nature of its grade II–listing, all the more so as the current Lyme Regis hotels just can not cope with demand for hotel beds and urge that the Three Cups re-open as fast as possible as a hotel. (See ‘Hotel Shortage’ below.)

The Three Cups is not just a building or a façade. Its value to the economy of the town is as a hotel. To turn it into flats, doubtless in the end, for weekenders would be to destroy it. It would not be the national treasure that it should be. The meeting saw the hotel’s shape from the map of 1841 – exactly as it is today.

I made copious notes in the meeting but don't have time just now to write up a lengthy report. However, I would say that the mood in Lyme Regis about the dereliction and danger of The Three Cups seems to have changed from quiet desperation to rising anger. And since the last meeting the Westminster Expenses Scandal has created an expectation that politicians even at the local level should be seen to be serving the interests of the people who elected them and not the rich elite. It was very good of Oliver Letwin and Sue Farrant to make the effort to attend.

In view of the above, the legal opinion given without fee, out of public service, by Michael Turner QC was music to my ears and was obviously well received by the meeting. The Cups ticks all the boxes for compulsory purchase and there is no reason why West Dorset District Council should not buy The Cups and sell it on, (by a back-to-back arrangement so that tax-payers money is not used at all), possibly at a profit for the people, to one of the THREE hoteliers who have already expressed interest in buying ALL the building and running it as a hotel. What a pity that Mr David Clarke, CEO, Dr David Evans, Director of Planning and Environment, and Councillor Robert Gould, Leader of WDDC, all turned down the invitations to be there and also failed to provide even one deputy for this very important Public occasion, to hear and debate the wishes of the people. One attender caught the mood of the meeting saying we should run a meeting at a time which - by prior agreement - would ensure the relevant WDDC personnel would be able to be present.

Bridport News completely failed to publicise the meeting and I didn't meet any reporters from the Lyme Regis News. Perhaps they could confirm whether they were interested enough in the will of the people or the legal situation to send a reporter.

On Friday 5th June the Public Meeting in Lyme Regis heard that the two main hotels in Lyme Regis can not nearly cope with the demand for hotel beds. Lesley Stone, proprietor of the Royal Lion said “We have a very heavy demand for our bedrooms. A re-opening of the Three Cups as a Hotel will definitely succeed, and the sooner it opens the better”. Kathryn Haskins, owner of the Alexandra Hotel says its return as a hotel would be “a fantastic success”, and it would “make a great boutique hotel” and would be “a stunning asset” to the town. “We could fill our rooms two or three times over, and even in winter Lyme’s massive pull as a prime weekend-break location ensures high occupancy rates.” David Parker, Chairman of the Lyme Regis and District Hotels and Restaurants Association says “Tourism is our most important industry. We urgently need more hotel rooms across the board. A re-opened Three Cups will be a big step forward, create employment and bring new spending power to the community.”


Blogger Andrew Townsend said…

BBC Dorset has covered the meeting on line with an article entitled "Iconic coastal hotel may reopen". See


Post a Comment

<< Home