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.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Palmers in Court over Access Dispute

Palmers contribution to the economic well being of Lyme Regis has been in the spotlight at Taunton County Court this week according to the front page story in the View From Lyme Regis. To read this on-line, click on this link and then select the Lyme Regis edition.

Having read the article, it seems that not only are Palmers damaging the economy of Lyme Regis by standing in the way of its most famous hotel re-opening, they are also preventing others from making a decent living from providing desperately needed tourist accommodation. The words "dog" and "manger" come to mind.

As stated at the head of this blog, I am interested in seeing The Three Cups re-opened for the sake of Tolkien fans and scholars from around the world, many of whom I am sure would want to travel to Lyme Regis and stay in the hotel where the great man spent so many holidays. As such, I would like to refer readers to an article on the Tolkien Society website entitled "Calling all tourists to 'Middle-earth'". This describes the work of a PhD student from the Geography Department at Durham University who studyied the tourist potential of locations in New Zealand which were used for making the films of The Lord of The Rings. I think someone should look into the market potential of The Three Cups and Lyme Regis for Tolkien Tourism which ought to be much higher than in the Antipodes, given that Tollers actually lived and worked in England and was obviously inspired by Dorset.

I happen to know that this week the Durham University Geography Department is running a field course examining the economy of Glasgow. Now, there is a community which knows how to build on its cultural heritage be it the architecture of Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Greek Thomson or Billie Connolly's Banana Boots. Glasgow also has a very entrepreneurial motto for their city council: "Let Glasgow Flourish". Sadly, Lyme Regis Town Council does not seem to have a motto. "Let Lyme Regis Flourish" would be a good one but Palmers might object!

Page six of the same edition of View From Lyme Regis reports on a Town Council meeting at which the fate of The Three Cups was discussed. There didn't seem to be much enthusiasm to let Lyme Regis flourish there either. May I remind the town councillors that West Dorset District Council has the power to purchase The Three Cups compulsorily and sell it on at a profit to one of the many hoteliers who wish to re-open it. It is up to them to make sure that WDDC does this in the interests of the people who elected them. They may think it is out of order for a blogger who lives in Manchester to say such things but, as someone who enjoys the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien, The Three Cups is part of my heritage as well. I would add that I am sure of the grounds for compulsory purchase because I took the trouble to attend two of the protest meetings where the legal situation was explained, which is more than can be said for some of Lyme Regis Town Council.

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Friday, March 19, 2010

Letter in Dorset Echo

"Is this leadership from our council?" asks John Grantham in a letter to the Dorset Echo this week. Click through to read the full text which questions why West Dorset District Council will not attend public meetings on matters which have huge impact on the economic well being of the electorate.

"With regard to WDDC’s planned offices move, I was brought up to believe that, if a team left a field of play, they forfeited the match. Cllr Gould does not seem to agree.

The fact that he is not prepared to appear in public to discuss the new office plan must mean one of two things. Either he is unconfident at his, and/or his Council colleagues’, ability to be able to represent the case adequately in public for the office move. Or he is unconfident that the facts and figures themselves are coherent and will stand up to interactive public scrutiny.

Ask any ten people anywhere in West Dorset what they think about the Council’s planned office move and if you get more than one of them even having heard of it you are doing well. The council is trying to slide this one through without proper, fullsome, public debate.

I myself know too much of autocratic Council behaviour, having actually been banned from contacting the Listed Buildings officer over the (20-years-shut) grade II-listed Three Cups Hotel building in Lyme Regis, which WDDC now admits “is falling to pieces”. Messrs Gould, Clarke and Evans all refuse to attend a public meeting in Lyme Regis to answer questions from residents there.

Is this refusal to attend the offices meeting ‘Leadership’ from the ‘Leader’ of the Council? Or is it fear of consulting properly with his electorate?

John Grantham

Burton Bradstock"

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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Council Delays Exposed

An article in the View From newspaper exposes the tactics used by West Dorset District Council to delay action on saving The Three Cups Hotel.

Click on this link , then select the Dorchester issue and go to page 9. Look for the headline "Public questions cannot be ignored - private ones can".

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Saturday, March 06, 2010

Heritage tourism contributes £20bn to UK economy

... according to a report from The Heritage Lottery Fund (entitled "Investing in Success") and yet West Dorset District Council refuse to use their powers of compulsory purchase to save The Three Cups which is the greatest heritage asset in Lyme Regis.

Perhaps it is the intention of WDDC to let this national and international treasure fall to pieces. Perhaps it is too much trouble for them to act in the interests of the local people and local economy. They should have got the message by now that it would not cost the council to purchase the hotel because it can be sold the same day to one of the many hoteliers who want to own it and run it AS A HOTEL. This was explained very eloquently by Michael Turner QC at the meeting in the Woodmead Halls on 5th June last year for those who could be bothered to attend.

And as for that comment at the last WDDC meeting that compulsory purchase of The Three Cups would mean that the council would have to purchase every failing business in the area, I think the electorate are owed an apology for that insult to their intelligence. Or maybe it means that some councillors ought to be replaced at the next elections.

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Thursday, March 04, 2010

Left to Rot - It's Official

Click through to see what the View From newspaper had to say about the recent West Dorset District Council meeting where the state of The Three Cups was discussed.

District accept Three Cups is ‘falling to pieces’

There is growing consensus over the dangerous state of the Three Cups Hotel according to the man who first highlighted its dangerous condition.

Three Cups owners, Palmers Brewery of Bridport are currently meeting with councillors and protesters to discuss possible uses for the grade II-listed building in Broad Street, which has been empty for over 20 years.

Palmers has rejected the possibility of converting the building back into a hotel after commissioning a report from hotel experts who claimed it would cost between £3 and £4 millions to return it back to acceptable standards.

John Grantham formed Community Alert to highlight the plight of the Three Cups in Lyme and The Old Swan in Toller Porcorum, leading to the setting up in Lyme of a group to persuade Palmers to re-open the Cups as an hotel.

Mr Grantham, who has been banned from talking to certain council officials, attended last week’s meeting of West Dorset District Council with a tray of rubble which has recently fallen off the Three Cups.

Mr Grantham was delighted that Council Chairman Ronald Coatsworth declared that “We all know the building is falling to pieces” and that no other member or officer contradicted him. Mr Grantham compares this with a statement from a planning officer last March which said “We sent someone down there a few months ago and everything was perfectly alright.”

Mr Grantham says that a few councillors were surprised a the brick pieces, one weighing 350g, which fell from the building.

He is calling on the council to reconsider compulsory purchase of the building and to find a back-to-back buyer so the cost does not fall on the taxpayers of West Dorset.

He claims this will save the council from “further ignominy”.


Debris – the tray of rubble John Grantham took to last week’s meeting of the West Dorset District Council to reinforce his claim that the Three Cups in Lyme Regis is still in a dangerous state.

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Tuesday, March 02, 2010

It can be done!

Jolly Anglers, Reading, forced to stay as a pub!

From Toller Porcorum:

"Interesting report on BBC South tonight (not South West) (1st March) on the Jolly Anglers at Reading. Owned by Enterprise Inns it was closed suddenly by them for development into flats. The locals campaigned and it has been sold by Enterprise to the independent brewery West Berkshire Brewery. If you google Jolly Anglers Reading there are reports about it – and the Reading Chronicle report."

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