Jobs, deposits lost as restaurant closes

RICHARD BATSON Scores of people have lost jobs and money after a popular north Norfolk eating and entertainment spot closed suddenly.Historic Northrepps Cottage, near Cromer, has gone bust, owing about £200,000, has ceased trading, and is poised to go into liquidation.

RICHARD BATSON

Scores of people have lost jobs and money after a popular north Norfolk eating and entertainment spot closed suddenly.

Historic Northrepps Cottage, near Cromer, has gone bust, owing about £200,000, has ceased trading, and is poised to go into liquidation.

People who booked festive dinners and functions, including a jazz night with Kenny Ball, will also lose deposits and tickets estimated as being worth up to £5,000.

Efforts are being made to find new tenants for the venue, a former 18th century house for the well-known Norfolk banking and landowning family the Gurneys, who still own it, which was turned into a restaurant and function room in the 1960s.

Built in 1793, the Gothic style house was originally home to philanthropist Anna Gurney, who founded the Belfry school at nearby Overstrand and supervised rescues of stricken sailors despite being confined to a wheelchair.

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It was reopened just two years ago by Neil and Karen Watts after a long closure and major refurbishment. A year ago it was taken over by ML and K Leisure, which has now asked accountancy firm Larking Gowen to place the business into voluntary liquidation.

There were no funds to pay ongoing liabilities, a statement from Larking Gowen said yesterday.

The 20-strong staff had been laid off, but were owed unpaid wages, holiday pay, redundancy money and compensation for loss of notice.

Promoter for the Kenny Ball concert, Mark Buller, last night said he had managed to find a new venue, the Mundesley Holiday Centre on the original date of Saturday October 20 at 8.30pm. Parties who had booked Christmas functions have been finding other venues for their festive fun.

Landowner Simon Gurney said following non-payment of rent from ML and K, run by Martin Wilcox, the family had reclaimed the lease and was hoping to find someone to run it.

Larking Gowen said any customers who had paid deposits by credit card might be able to claim a refund from their credit card company. People who used debit cards should check with their bank as sometimes a refund could be payable.

Meetings of shareholders and creditors will be held at the Larking Gowen's offices at King Street House, 15 Upper King Street, Norwich on Monday October 15 at 10.30am, when it was likely ML and K would be put into liquidation.

Any creditors who had not received notice of the meeting should contact Larking Gowen on 01603 624181.

Anyone who is interested in taking over the business should contact landlord Simon Gurney at the estate office on 01263 513969.

t Tickets for the rearranged Kenny Ball concert, costing £10, are available on 01263 513142.

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