ASHBOURNE’S notorious rumour mill has gone into overdrive as speculation mounts over the new owner of the Green Man Royal Hotel.
The three main suspects being bandied about, businessman Peter Gadsby, hair salon group owner Sally Montague and pub giant JD Wetherspoon, have all denied their involvement in the historic St John Street pub and hotel.
In another bizarre twist, the new owner has anonymously released a statement to the News Telegraph announcing plans to redevelop the hotel and bring it back to its former glory.
Ahead of the statement’s release yesterday, the News Telegraph was given exclusive access to the building and to see how work — which began last week — is progressing as essential maintenance is carried out.
A local builder, Jamie Hunt, has been brought in to kick-start the project and a project manager is on site every day.
The statement, which began with an announcement by ‘City Trustees’ that the purchase has been completed, begins by explaining that the hotel is ‘quite run down’ because of the long closure but states an intention to restore the building to a ‘good standard’ following ‘substantial investment.’
It reads: “Extensive work is not likely to commence until spring 2013, but essential maintenance will be carried out immediately, while an assessment and planning process begins to evaluate the future development options for the premises.
“The new owner, who prefers to keep a low profile, hopes that it will be possible to redevelop the hotel and reinstate the ballroom and events facility.
“Being a local person, living in the Ashbourne area, they are keen to see a development which enhances Ashbourne town centre and supports a thriving local community and commercial district.
“The importance of this town landmark, its heritage and association with the Shrovetide football will not be neglected during the planning phase and any architects appointed will have to understand this historical significance.”