A DISGRUNTLED woman has spoken out against the new owners of one of the oldest hotels in Crowthorne, claiming they are destroying a piece of the village's history.

Janet Holding, of Dukes Ride, has lived in Crowthorne for nine years and has fond

memories of the ‘grasscrete' yard fronting the well-known Waterloo Hotel in Dukes Ride.

But last month the hotel, built more than 100 years ago, underwent a facelift after being taken over by a new

business chain. Its name was promptly changed to the Corus Hotel Bracknell, although the name Bracknell does not appear on the outside sign.

Tarmac now replaces the old yard and £1 million pounds worth of construction work is under way.

Mrs Holding said: "I don't know one person here who thinks it is a good idea to change the name.

"When they answer the

phone they say "Corus Hotel Bracknell", but we are not

part of Bracknell, we are Crowthorne.

"It used to be a landmark and now they have taken up the grassy yard and replaced it with tarmac. I think it's appalling.

"We are a village after all and this was a piece of our history. It's such a shame."

Crowthorne Parish Council previously fought to save the original name of the hotel, claiming it was a valuable piece of Crowthorne's heritage.

Councillor Bob Wade said: "We had a meeting with the manager about a month ago because we did not want the name changed.

"We pointed out it was built over 100 years ago at the same time as Wellington College - it was intended for parents

visiting their children.

"It transpired a decision had been made to change the name much to my annoyance.

"They have now removed the original name and are carrying out extensive refurbishment and expansion work."

He added: "As a council we have made it quite clear we are disappointed.

"The sad part is, it is all too easy to destroy our heritage on the grounds that names don't matter. We understand it's all part of the branding of a chain of hotels, but it's such a shame."

A spokesman for Corus and Regal Hotels explained: "Market research shows that brands are an important factor when selecting a hotel so for this reason the hotel has been renamed.

"We are well aware of the

historical connections with the local area and these are being maintained through the bar and restaurant names.

"The decision to use Bracknell in the name has been made to ensure we maximise the opportunities from national and international markets."