An open letter concerning The Royal Hotel, Ashby

By Guest

10th Mar 2021 | Local News

To Simon Dawson,

Director, Oakland Hotels Ltd

Dear Mr Dawson,

It is now three years since you closed Ashby's Grade 2* Royal Hotel and 18 months since you applied for planning permission to build apartments on the Royal car park and assisted living accommodation on the Hastings Garden, with the promise of using the proceeds to fund restoration and re-opening of the Royal.

I have seen no progress during the intervening period; the Royal continues to deteriorate and the car park has been used as a road contractors yard for the past year.

Since receiving significant objections to your planning application from Historic England and over 100 local residents in autumn 2019, you have regularly promised to submit a revised set of plans which would address the concerns over the design of this development.

However, no such revised application has yet materialised and the planning application remains on hold at your request.

You have entered into a contract with Ashby Town Council for their purchase of the Bath Grounds, to help fund restoration of the Royal. This purchase is dependent upon you receiving "satisfactory" planning permission for your proposed development.

The Town Council, in good faith, has obtained a Public Works Loan Board loan agreement for the purchase, but without your revised planning application the sale is stalled.

As the District Councillor and one of three Town Councillors whose ward includes the Royal Hotel and the Bath Grounds, I call upon you to submit your revised plans so that they can be scrutinised by the public and considered by the District Council Planning Committee so that a decision can be made one way or the other.

If you are not willing to do this, then please put the Royal Hotel on the open market so that interested parties can consider its purchase with a view to its restoration and re-use as a functioning building.

I'm sure I speak for the people of Ashby when I say that we cannot continue to tolerate seeing our most important Georgian building falling into a state of neglect and disrepair.

Cllr. Dave Bigby

Labour Councillor for Ashby Willesley Ward.


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