Future of iconic Shropshire hotel in doubt again
The future of a historic hotel in Newport is in doubt after the sudden departure of its landlord.
The Royal Victoria Hotel in Newport was closed yesterday, just five months after reopening its doors to the public.
Bosses at Marston's Brewery, who own the Grade II-listed building on St Mary's Street, said the hotel was open again last night with a new licensee at the helm. But they have pledged to talk to local residents to discuss the hotel's long-term future.
It has been rumoured it could be turned into student accommodation for nearby Harper Adams University in Edgmond.
Many residents and town leaders have criticised the idea, saying the hotel is the only venue in Newport available for big functions.
Jeremy Eton, spokesman for Marston's, said: "The retailer left the Royal Victoria Hotel causing us to close the premises for a short time yesterday. However, a new licensee was brought in quickly and we were able to reopen it in the evening.
"We are now considering the future of the hotel by speaking to local residents about what they would like to see happen."
Councillor Eric Carter, chairman of the Newport Regeneration Partnership, said: "It would be a real shame if the town was to lose its only hotel.
"I hope it will continue its future as a hotel as it is the only venue in town that allows us to hold big functions, and I am sure many residents agree.
"It is such an iconic building for Newport and I would hate to see it go down the same route at the Charlton Arms in Wellington, which is a sorry sight.
"I have a lot of time for students, however, I would not like to see the hotel turned into student accommodation as it is the only venue in town able to host events such as weddings and funerals."
The town's hotel closed its doors suddenly in October 2014. It remained closed for nine months.
The bar was reopened in June by Lawrence Smith, of Yorkshire, but the rest of the building needed £250,000 of refurbishment which was expected to be completed before Christmas.
The building, which dates back to 1830, had been targeted by vandals while it was closed previously and fears were expressed by town leaders that the loss of the hotel could affect the local economy.
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