Marlborough College and its separate Summer School should be allowed to advertise on posters behind its ornate gates, to attract people to the mainly artistic events it holds on its campus.
That was the decision of Marlborough town council’s planning committee this week when it voted overwhelmingly in favour of a planning application to allow temporary banners to be put on display on a 28-day revolving basis.
“We put up banners all the time on the town hall,” said Councillor Elizabeth Hannaford-Dobson, the committee chair. “I fear we are in danger of calling the kettle black by not allowing them to do it too.”
And the mayor, Councillor Alexander Kirk Wilson interjected that the council would be “rather precious” if it objected because the College is part of a conservation area.
“We are a vibrant town with things going on all the time,” he declared. “These banners are for attractive things going on and they need the publicity to show that we are an active town.”
Summer School events aimed at encouraging residents as well students from around the world to take part in its activities provide an important added value to the economic impact that the school has on the town.
The Summer School alone brings in more than 3,000 visitors to Marlborough, who fill local bed and breakfast establishments and now enjoy late night shopping.
None of the councillors appeared to be aware of the Schools’ true value to Marlborough, in much the same way that the replacement of the Pewsey Road bridge was allowed to go ahead without any economic impact assessment taking place, to the detriment of the High Street shopping centre.
But Councillor Richard Pitts did pointed out: “These are wonderful events taking place and we should be encouraging them as much as we can.”