Palmers Ignore The Will of The People
Retail and restaurant but hotel is ruled out
Palmers Brewery is ready to reveal its multi-million pound plans for the former Three Cups Hotel.
The long-awaited findings of a seven-month consultation will finally be made public at a special consultation day to be held in Lyme Regis next month.
The Bridport-based brewery is considering a number of proposals for the former Broad Street hotel, which has been closed for 20 years.
They include retail use, a new restaurant – which is hoped will attract a celebrity chef – residential units, and the possibility of some letting rooms.
Palmers has this week insisted it will never be a hotel again, but defiant campaigners say they are still fighting to see the Three Cups returned to its former glory.
The plans will be revealed at a consultation event at the Pilot Boat Inn from 12.30pm to 9pm on Wednesday, September 15, when Palmers representatives will be available to explain the various options under consideration and the public will be invited to comment.
John Palmer, the managing director of Palmers Brewery, said: “We think we have found some potential ways forward for the site, but we want to share them with the people of Lyme Regis and hear what they have to say before we make any final decisions and submit a planning application.”
Palmers seek views before submitting final plan
Have your say on the Three Cups
The Save the Three Cups as a Hotel Group is not surprised the proposals will not include a hotel option.
Group Chairman John Dover said “We are pleased to see we now have a date for Palmers’ public consultation day albeit two months later than promised. Let’s hope their proposals fairly reflect the inputs already made by ourselves, town and district councillors and planning officers.
“We remain committed to the hotel option particularly as we have hoteliers in the wings wanting to buy and reopen the three Cups as a hotel.
“We believe this is still the best outcome to jointly benefit the owners and the needs of Lyme Regis and its economy. We are disappointed but not surprised that the likely proposals will not include the hotel option.
“Our overriding concern is that this iconic building of great historical importance is saved for the future generations of Lyme and beyond.”
Several options will be presented – including retail use and the front of the building, additional units at the back, and a restaurant overlooking Lyme Bay.
Palmers’ architects are considering whether some letting rooms could be included to provide visitor accommodation and the plans must incorporate residential units, which the brewery said was “essential” to fund the multi-million pound cost of developing the site.
The brewery has spent more than seven months consulting with town and district councillors, planning officers and the campaign group to find a future for the site that is both economically viable and benefits Lyme Regis.
Palmers also commissioned hospitality specialists TRI Consulting to carry out an independent report into the financial viability of reconverting the building into a working hotel.
A brewery spokesman said it hoped the ‘diligent’ consultation work carried out so far will mean that the proposals would “strike a chord” with the public.
The spokesman added that it was too early to specify a particular retail use.
The cost of renovating the building would depend on which set of proposals was finally chosen, said the spokesman.
A planning application will be submitted following the consultation event.
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Building has ‘no future’ as a hotel
The bottom line is that the Three Cups will never be re-opened as a hotel, said Palmers.
A spokesman for the brewery said: “The hotel option has been fully explored using independent specialists to produce a report that was independently verified for West Dorset District Council.
“The outcome was that a hotel was found to be economically unviable”.
But campaigners said Palmers reasons for ruling out the hotel are a ‘red herring’.
Campaign group chairman John Dover said: “The TRI report commissioned by Palmers did not state that a hotel was economically unviable. The report concluded that the conversion of the neglected and dilapidated Three Cups building to the two hotel options chosen by Palmers were unviable.
“Why do other hoteliers remain interested if the hotel option, in Palmers’ view, is a non-starter?”
He added: “These reasons used by Palmers to rule out a hotel are a ‘red herring’. We believe that, for over 20 years, Palmers have never wanted to reopen the Three Cups as a hotel.
“When the land at the rear of the building had been stabilised and the time was right they would then proceed to achieve what they wanted all along.
“That is to maximise their financial return with predominantly residential accommodation.”