Closure of hotel leaves 25 facing axe

A traditional country hotel in the heart of Norfolk is being put into liquidation leaving about 25 people facing redundancy and about 11 weddings needing a new venue.

A traditional country hotel in the heart of Norfolk is being put into liquidation leaving about 25 people facing redundancy and about 11 weddings needing a new venue.

The Lenwade Country House Hotel - on the A1067 Norwich-Fakenham road - shut down at about noon on Monday leaving staff jobless with about five weeks of pay owing.

Employees were angry at the lack

of notice but said the 40-room

hotel and restaurant had been suffering from numerous operational problems.

Rooms at the timbered 19th century building cost up to £140 a night,

Most Read

with the hotel set among 18 acres

of manicured grass, woodland and a lake.

On its website the hotel describes itself as "evocative of times in old England" and that guests "feel transported to a different world, free from outside hassles and the reality of modern-day living".

But one member of staff, who did not want to be named, told how the hotel had run out of oil twice in the recent months, leaving it without heating or hot water, that some rooms had been closed by leaking pipes and that damp in the kitchen ceiling had caused part of it to collapse.

There is also concern over what will happen to about 11 weddings that were booked at the hotel over the rest of the year, in particular one booked for March.

The staff member said: "I was genuinely upset.

"There was a lot of shouting, a

lot of tears from staff.

"We just do not know where we stand now, we have five weeks' pay outstanding.

"It is a shame because when I

started working there a year ago I thought the place had a lot of potential."

Leaseholder Paul Lin said he was talking to the receivers about getting another company to take over the hotel and re-employ staff.

"We are trying to get a party to rescue the business and take over the hotel but it is at an early stage.

"We had been trying to make the hotel work so this was a bit unexpected."

On Monday staff were given a letter from Mr Lin setting out the reasons for the closure, headed as being from Canton Hotels Ltd, trading as Lenwade Country House Hotel.

It said: "I regret this decision but due to the financial position of the company I am left with no alternative but to close it down.

"I am proceeding to put the company into liquidation."

He adds that the liquidator will be in touch with staff to deal with their claims.

The hotel is owned by Hyghmay Ltd, which leases the property to Canton Hotels Ltd.

Director at Hyghmay Paul Rogers said that Mr Lin had the lease on

the building for the next three-and-a-half years and it was uncertain

at present whether the building

would return to their control imminently.

He said: "If the hotel does return to us we have three options for us to run it ourselves, which is the least likely option, leasing the hotel to another party or an alternative use such as residential development or other opportunities."