Proposals to turn Marlborough’s Ivy House Hotel into a boarding house for pupils at Marlborough College have been rejected by county councillors.
At a meeting last night (Thursday), a majority of members of Wiltshire Council’s eastern area planning committee voted to turn down the proposal.
However, the final decision is no longer theirs to make – the applicant, Marlborough College, had already appealed against the council’s failure to make a decision within the statutory eight weeks.
The means that Wiltshire Council’s official decision, along with the views of Marlborough Town Council, which also opposes the application, will be taken into consideration by a government planning inspector, who will sit in judgement later this year.
The council’s planning officers – the paid officials who advise elected councillors – had recommended that the application be given the go-ahead.
The papers put before last night’s committee meeting supported Marlborough College’s application, concluding: “Although in some respects the loss of the hotel use may be regretted, this is more a commercial matter than one that can be opposed in planning terms as the development plan does not have any policies that would support a refusal.”
But councillors voted six-to-one against the application, citing the impact on tourism, the lack of competition in the hospitality sector that would be created if the Ivy House were no cease operating as a hotel, and the knock-on effect to other businesses in the town, who benefit from the patronage of the visitors who stay at the hotel.