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Hospitality & Leisure Industry News – W/c 16th Nov


Monday 16/11/15 JD Wetherspoon granted planning permission for new pub in Diss: JD Wetherspoon has been granted planning for a £2.2m pub in Diss, Norfolk (population: 7,572), creating more than 50 jobs. The company has had its application for the new 953 square metre pub at Kings Head Yard in Mere Street approved by South Norfolk Council. Spokesman Eddie Gershon told the Diss Express: “We have always been keen to open one of our pubs in Diss and this is a great step in the right direction. Diss is a very attractive town and we are confident that its residents and visitors will welcome a Wetherspoon pub.” JD Wetherspoon said it would now apply for an alcohol licence for the site in due course.

Tuesday 17/11/15 Suffolk pub freehold sells for £295,000: The freehold of The Queens Head in the east Suffolk village of Bramfield has been sold off an asking price of £295,000. The property, marketed by agent Fleurets, has been bought by Barsham Securities. The Queen’s Head, which is the only pub is the village, has 16th and 17th century origins and is heavily timbered throughout. It features a lounge bar with exposed timbers, a high vaulted ceiling and a large exposed inglenook fireplace, along with a further lounge bar and a dining room. There are three-bedroom living quarters on the first floor while the terraced garden has seating for more than 70 customers. A spokesman for Barsham Securities said: “We will be initially undertaking some refurbishment to the building and kitchen modernisation to enable an ingoing tenant the best possible chance of success retaining a village public house in Bramfield.”

Wednesday 18/11/15 Restaurant and gastro-pub company Northcote moves towards profit: Northcote Leisure Group posted a turnover of £9.1m in the year ending 31 March 2015. This compares to a turnover of £6.4m in the period between 14 May 2013 and 31 March 2014. Pre-tax losses also narrowed to £1.9m in 2014/15 compared to £4.7m in 2013/14. Northcote Leisure Group operates Northcote Hotel, a 26-bedroom luxury hotel and Michelin star-winning restaurant in Langho near Blackburn, run by celebrity chef Nigel Haworth and wine expert Craig Bancroft. It also owns Northcote at the Rovers, a hospitality, conferencing and banqueting business at Blackburn Rovers’ home Ewood Park; and Ribble Valley Inns, a food-led pub group with sites in Lancashire, Cumbria, Cheshire and North Yorkshire. The group is owned by former Blackburn Rovers vice-chairman Richard Matthewman, his wife Lynda, wine expert Craig Bancroft and Haworth. Matthewman is the group’s chairman while Bancroft and Haworth are joint managing directors. The facilities at Northcote Hotel have been undergoing a dramatic transformation in recent years. Building work started in May 2013 and finished almost 20 months later on 19 December 2014. Bancroft told Business Insider: “It’s very good news. Everything’s moving in the right direction. To have increased revenues in this way with JCBs and builders onsite has been a remarkable result. This financial year we’re already trading 28.8% up in terms of revenue and our best trading months are generally December and January. I think we could end the year in the region of 31% up. Then from April 2017 onwards we’ll have reached full maturity as a business.” A report by the directors noted Northcote Hotel has undergone a string of changes over the last two years with further dining facilities, new kitchens, improved leisure space, a cocktail bar, and extra bedrooms added. Northcote Hotel contributed £4.6m turnover and £1.1m pre-tax losses to the wider group. Japanese beer giant invests £2m in Buckinghamshire rebuild: Japanese drinks giant, Asahi Group, which owns the Buckinghamshire golf club in southern England, is to invest £2 million in refurbishing the golf course. Golf architects Thomson Perrett & Lobb will lead the renovation project, which will be implemented over the next two winters, and will include building an irrigation reservoir, installing a new Toro irrigation system and rebuilding the existing green to tee cart paths. Lake work and a rebuild of the course’s bunkering will complete the works, which should be done by March 2017. “A key part of our brief was to reduce the size of the course’s bunkers,” says TPL principal Tim Lobb. “The bunkers are way too large, and many of them do not really influence play. We’ll reduce the bunkers from a total size of 14,000 sq m down to 6,000 sq m.” “Building a large reservoir will help us to save money and improve our sustainability and means we won’t be reliant on using mains water,” said course manager Andy Ewence. “Installing a new irrigation system will help us to produce tournament standard conditions throughout the year, while our advanced new sprinkler system will also reduce wastage. We will be able to target only the greens, surrounds, approaches, fairways and tees where water is required.” “We have been working with the Buckinghamshire to implement a strategic review of the bunker positioning and style among other planned upgrades,” said Lobb. “At the forefront of all our design proposals is to create a strategic, interesting and fair golfing challenge for club members, visitors and tournament golfers alike. We look forward to commencing work on site this winter.” Contractor Profusion Environmental is in charge of the construction work, with AT Bone handling infrastructure works. The original course at the Buckinghamshire Golf Club was designed by John Jacobs and is set in 226 acres of magnificent English parkland near Denham and close to the M25. The club is the headquarters of the Ladies European Tour.

Thursday 19/11/15 Boutique hotel Stoke Place enters administration: A boutique 39-bedroom hotel near Slough is set to be sold after its owner and operator entered administration. Rachael Wilkinson and Matthew Callaghan of PwC were appointed joint administrators of Stoke Place Hotel on 9 November. The company owns and operates Stoke Place, a luxury hotel set in approximately 20.5 acres of grounds based in Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire. The administrators said their appointment has not affected trading at Stoke Place, which is “open for business as usual”. They added an agreement has been reached in principle to sell the hotel and the deal is expected to complete within three to four weeks of their appointment. During that time, a third party will be running the hotel under licence on behalf of the joint administrators and working alongside the existing management team. New training course provides guidance for treating patients with cancer: The Amethyst Trust has created a new specialist training course for treating cancer patients in salons and spas. The Amethyst Trust aims to dispel myths and common misunderstandings, and provide high-quality, factual information to those who wish to provide massage to their clients with cancer. The organisation has also secured an insurance provision for the course, which enables both individuals plus beauty salons and spas to purchase a bespoke, ‘top-up’ insurance policy that allows therapists to treat clients without a doctor’s note, as long as they have undertaken the Amethyst Training and follow the recommended protocol. The course brings together John Holman and his Hydrotherm Massage Therapy along with Julie Speed and Debbie Moore, directors of The International Beauty & Holistic Academy. “There are a plethora of myths surrounding whether massage is safe whilst undergoing cancer treatment, and the reality is that it is perfectly safe if adaptations are made,” said Speed. “It is really important to the Trust that we are able to help therapists competently treat those clients safely and effectively, whilst also providing appropriate insurance cover.” The first training course will take place Monday, 23 November at the International Beauty & Holistic Academy in Gloucester, England.

Friday 20/11/15 Norwich’s first dedicated gluten-free cafe to open next month: Norwich’s first dedicated gluten-free cafe is set to open next month. Louisa Kiddell and Tony Garrick, who run The Gluten-Free Shop at Hellesdon Barns, have been given the go-ahead for the cafe in Timberhill on the site of the former Jennie Cross Brides shop. The cafe, which will have a shop upstairs, will open from 8.30am-7pm on weekdays and Saturdays and 10am-4pm on Sundays. Garrick told the Eastern Daily Press: “There has been demand amongst our customers for us to open a shop in the city centre, and also for an eating establishment, so the new premises seemed like the logical next step.” Kiddell added: “We’re still developing the menu, but we are very excited that we will be able to offer something for everyone, whether people have coeliac disease or are following a gluten or wheat-free diet.”

Nottingham Post: Nottinghamshire hotel is in top 10 in the East Midlands: Kelham House Hotel, in Newark, has been voted among the top ten hotels in the East Midlands in Trivago’s inaugural Top Hotels of 2015 awards. This is the first year that Trivago has run the awards, which are calculated purely on guest feedback aggregated from more than 30 hotel review websites worldwide. Noel Mines, group general manager for Heritage Estates, said: “Kelham House Country Manor Hotel is overwhelmed at being placed tenth in the best hotels in the East Midlands by Trivago. “We have an amazing team of people at Kelham House who all work incredibly hard to make sure every guest that stays is provided with the best customer care and service.”

Morningadvertiser: Thousands sign petition after BII Licensees of the Year express fears flats will close pub

By Emily Sutherland, 20-Nov-2015

Over 10,000 people have signed a petition calling on Birmingham councillors to block developers from building flats next to award-winning pub the Prince of Wales, run by BII licensees of the year Keith and Dianne Marsden. Read More Strictly members-only golf club opens up to the public: A golf club that was strictly members-only has decided to allow non-members to visit the club. The move is being seen as a sign that the industry is in a state of modernisation due to financial necessity.Minto Golf Club in Scotland previously only allowed non-members to attend its bar or restaurant if they signed in first. That restriction has now been lifted following, approval from the club’s board of directors, an agreement with the Scottish Borders Licensing Board and no objections from the police, which was feared over a potential increase in alcohol consumption. “Like all golf clubs in the Borders we are struggling for membership and we are trying to arrest this,” said house convener Doug Joyce. “One of the ways is to increase footfall for meals in our clubhouse: by getting the public to come up and see our magnificent setting at Minto and perhaps become interested in playing golf here. “We also want to be able to encourage other groups, like cycling and walking clubs, to meet here and to market the clubrooms for weddings, funerals and other functions. “This is a food-based initiative and, because of where we are, we do not anticipate an increase in alcohol sales.” Several golf clubs have responded to the drop in golf participation and their membership levels by making their venues more welcoming in recent years – including relaxing dress codes, marketing to women and juniors and allowing non-members to visit.

Morningadvertiser: Pub chefs in need of ‘more defined career paths’

By Nicholas Robinson+, 20-Nov-2015

More defined career paths, as well as realistic expectations of head chefs, must be developed for pub chefs in order to attract and retain talent in pub kitchens, industry leaders have agreed. Read More

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