Sir John Sykes states he does not want to perpetuate this controversy and then attempts to dismiss my letter with a long reply and appeals for us all to move on. I shall be short and factual in my response.
Not for the first time, I find myself trying to correct statements which are inaccurate. The immediate past owners of the Ivy House own two further hotels and are not solely a food company as stated by Sir John Sykes.
The fact that people, business and council were not aware that the hotel was on the market is hardly the problem of the seller. In my position merely as a neighbour to the hotel, I was fully aware at all stages of the attempts to sell the premises and therefore my concern as to what would follow was obvious, i.e. who was going to take it on?
As a retired solicitor Sir John must know that the best evidence is that seen at first hand and not confined only to looking at a business through its books, which Wiltshire council and other people attempted to do when the College made its application for change of use.
I witnessed in recent years as the hotel started to decline that most guests who had booked into the hotel for bed and breakfast (other meals were no longer provided) left almost straightaway after breakfast and moved on to their destinations.
I live at the rear of the hotel car park and easily observed the volumes staying at the hotel. The staff were quite open about how quiet it had become. Therefore, the added value to the town from the guests was minimal in my view.
Sir John ‘complains’ that the College played its cards close to its chest, but I maintain that any interest shown by so called ‘other creditable purchasers’ could have been shown much earlier before the College launched its offer to buy the Ivy House and thus save this listed building from further decline.
After all, to the best of my knowledge, no acceptable offer to counter the College was received.
I just do not accept that businessmen wanting to move into Marlborough to start up a smart restaurant/hotel would allow themselves to miss an opportunity like the Ivy House.
If there were such ‘other creditable purchasers’ it appears they too were playing their cards close to their chests because they never actually materialised with their cheque books.