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.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Dorset Echo on Pub Campaigns

I added a web address as a comment on the article below. If anyone is having trouble copying and pasting it, you can click on this link instead.

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Monday, November 22, 2010


Campaigners in Toller Porcorum are dismayed at the belated response from West Dorset District Council to their meticulously prepared case for compulsory pruchase of the dilapidated and decaying Old Swan pub in their village. Click through to read the text of their letter of complaint.

I thought local councillors were elected to serve their communities. You wouldn't have thought the councillors in Dorchester have any interest in doing what is best for the people of Toller Porcorum when you read this:

Dated 8/11/2010, Copied to all councillors 9/11/2010

You have stated to the Press this week that "the document from SOS urging the council to compulsory purchase The Old Swan at Toller Porcorum was not a fully worked up proposal. The District Council's legal team confirmed that it was lacking in a number of respects."

The SOS Toller (Save The Old Swan Group) are shocked to hear this from youTWO YEARS AFTER the submission for compulsory purchase was handed to you in November 2008. This is outrageous!

The submission was the result of two years' research and put the economic, social and environmental case for compulsory purchase, quoting relevant legislation etc. We showed that the Council could recoup any expenses by putting them on the sale price. We had considerable help on legal matters from an eminent QC. WE HAVE NEVER HEARD FROM YOU OR ANYONE ELSE IN WEST DORSET DISTRICT COUNCIL THAT THERE WAS ANYTHING WRONG WITH IT during the TWO YEARS since you received it. In fact, David Evans (Director of Planning and Communities) actually said "this is very good" at the time.

We have never had any discussion with WDDC or comments about our submission and the first and ONLY face to face meeting we had with you, David Evans and the Head of Legal Services, was in late July this year, arranged by Oliver Letwin MP. At that meeting, you and David Evans were both asked if you had actually read it, to which you both replied "yes of course". THERE WAS NO OTHER COMMENT ON ITS CONTENT at this meeting.

Why then Mr Gould are you only now telling us, via the Press, that "it was lacking in a number of respects"? If there were flaws in the proposal, why did you not have the courtesy of advising us of these?

Why did the Head of Legal Services not say anything at the July meeting?

Why have you sat on this for TWO YEARS without saying anything to the SOS Toller Group? It seems to us to be rude, dismissive, arrogant and ignorant.

It is suspected that you had no intention at all of even considering compulsory purchase even as a "last resort" as you consistently say at Council meetings. Perhaps we should have realised this at the time of the meeting you had with two villagers (not part of the SOS group who were banned from the meeting) and John Palmer when, as reported back to us, you TWICE stated that you would NEVER compulsory purchase any of Palmers' pubs. As advised by Dr Evans, no notes were kept by WDDC of that meeting but the two villagers did.

We - and the villagers of Toller Porcorum and Hooke - demand answers Mr Gould! We invite you to come to Toller within the next two weeks to meet with the villagers at a public meeting to explain your actions.

What chance for the people of Lyme Regis or the hoteliers who are queueing up to buy The Three Cups to run AS A HOTEL and the cultural tourists who would come from all over the UK and around the world to spend money in the town? It's time WDDC council started working in the interests of the electorate and not Palmers Brewery or should we say Palmers Property Developers for the occasional weekenders?

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Are Palmers Playing Ball? It Doesn't Look Like Cricket!

In case you missed it in the reports of the meeting of 22nd October, Palmers of Bridport, the brewers who own The Three Cups Hotel intend to put one of their village pubs on the market. At first sight, this looks like good news for campaigners but closer examination suggests foul play.

The pub in question is The Old Swan at Toller Porcorum where campaigners have been fighting for 4 years to see the pub re-opened. Click here for more details. If as reported Palmers intend to put it on the market for £175,000, then this is a cynical ploy to convince the public of their ludicrous claim that nobody wants the pub. The incredibly high figure which is about three times the market value of the pub without taking into account the dilapidation caused by Palmers bad management of the empty building. (Renovation may cost as much as £300,000.) And just to make things harder for any potential buyer, they are offering a 999 year lease with a draught beer tie.

One can only assume that Palmers want the sale to fall through so that they can work with West Dorset District Council to end the life of the building as a pub and deny the village their traditional social gathering place. How does this improve the economic, social or environmental well being of the community?

It may sound like Palmers are playing fair by putting the pub on the market but it doesn’t look like cricket to me. In fact it sounds more like match fixing.

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Friday, November 12, 2010

Slide Show from 22/10/2010

The slide show available which accompanied my speech at the meeting on 22nd October is now available. Click on this link to view it. You may wish to display it in a narrow window alongside the text which is available below under "The Fight Goes On". Thanks again to Glenn Willis for putting the slide show together and to David Moss for uploading it.

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