Shock over the closure of wedding venue near Diss
The wedding plans of dozens of couples have been thrown into chaos following the sudden closure of an historic hotel on the Norfolk-Suffolk border.
Future brides and grooms spoke of their shock yesterday after they were informed by letter that the Brome Grange Hotel, near Diss, had 'ceased trading.'
The sudden closure of the privately-owned venue, off the A140, has left couples in doubt over whether they will get their deposits back and searching for a new place to hold their wedding reception at short notice.
A sign outside the building yesterday said 'hotel closed. Sorry for the inconvenience' and a recorded answer phone message said 'due to unforeseen circumstances, the hotel has ceased trading.'
Future customers have been asked to apply in writing to get their deposit money back after the hotel shut on Monday.
The son of Jessica Rogers, who owns the building, yesterday told the EDP that his mother was 73-years-old and could no longer afford to keep running the hotel. He added that everyone with bookings would be reimbursed.
Bungay couple Stuart King and Heather Petchey, who are tying the knot next Saturday, and were due to celebrate with family and friends at Brome Grange in the evening, said they hoped they would get their more than �2,000 deposit money back.
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'It is nightmare. Just when we thought we had everything sorted, we got the letter saying they had ceased trading. We have been fortunate to get an alternative venue at short notice and people have helped us out on the financial side,' he said.
Jane Shibley and Jon Ringer, of Long Stratton, were due to hold their wedding reception at the hotel on July 23 with 150 guests and had already paid almost �3,000 towards the booking.
Miss Shibley, 31, said alarm bells started ringing when the hotel's wedding planner left a few months ago and it was difficult to get hold of anyone. She added that their wedding insurance would not cover them because the hotel had not gone into administration.
'I am absolutely gutted. We are ringing around other venues to see if we can find somewhere that is available. We are set to lose our other deposits if it does not go ahead. It is really upsetting,' she said.
The 16th century building has 18 bedrooms, a barn for wedding receptions and parties, a restaurant and conference facilities and had previously been up for sale.
The closure is also a blow for the 70 year 11 students of Stradbroke Business and Enterprise College who had booked their leaving prom at the hotel on June 29.
Parent Audrey Goode, who is part of the prom organising committee, said she could not believe the venue had closed after paying them �830 last week. She added that a farmer in Fressingfield had offered the free use of his barn as an alternative venue.
'Companies do go to the wall, but we are upset about it for the students. They have fundraised for this big party for the end of the school year and it is extremely disappointing,' she said.