What’s next for the Royal Hotel?

29/5/09 News'Scenesetter of the Royal Hotel..'092267b
29/5/09 News'Scenesetter of the Royal Hotel..'092267b

THE future of Scarborough’s iconic Royal Hotel is hanging in the balance as the company behind it goes in to administration.

After 12 years at the helm of the historic hotel, English Rose Hotels Scarborough Ltd has collapsed.

The firm also owns the Clifton Hotel, which was put up for sale earlier this month.

Administrators were called in as a result of the “significant” debts that had been built up in tax arrears.

The news was broken to the team staff, which equates to 72 full-timers, yesterday morning when they were called in to a meeting by administrators.

They were told they will be paid, and the 118-bedroom hotel will continue to run as normal while a buyer is sought.

Directors at English Rose Hotels Scarborough, who also own sister company English Rose Hotels Yorkshire Ltd, say they did “everything possible” to prevent the situation.

In a desperate attempt to save the hotel, the Turner family, which owns the firm, even offered £600,000 of their own money to the taxman towards their arrears. Managing director David Turner told the Evening News: “Every single effort has been taken to avoid this.

“From our perspective we did everything we could to continue trading and for this not to occur.

“We went in to administration at 1pm yesterday. I was still fighting my corner up until 12.30pm to try to stop this happening. I couldn’t have tried harder.”

He added: “Scarborough has been good to us. If we can find a way of going forward and giving something back to the town we will.

“As a board of directors and a family of directors we thank the staff for their time and service given to us. There has been a tremendous level of loyalty shown from a large number of people.”

Mr Turner said the company had hit difficulties as a result of cash flow problems arising from poor trading over winter months, caused by cancellations and low bookings due to the weather, particularly last winter.

Joan Turner, 75, who chairs English Rose Hotels Scarborough, emotionally reflected on her career with the company, which also owned the Holbeck Hall Hotel, and her time at the Royal.

She said: “I feel we have been custodians of a beautiful hotel and I have been privileged to have been here. It has been fun as well, except for these last two or three years. I feel I am losing something for me, my family, and the staff. We have had some very loyal staff, some who have worked with me for more than 30 years. They are like part of the family.

“I really don’t know what I’m going to do now. I cannot imagine getting up and not going to work in the office. It is my life, and it has gone but it has been good while it lasted.”