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Bookings cancelled at hotel

PUBLISHED: 10:51 17 August 2010 | UPDATED: 09:17 16 September 2010

PEOPLE have been left disappointed after bookings for functions at a popular Beccles venue were cancelled because of refurbishment plans as it is turned into a Wetherspoon's pub.

PEOPLE have been left disappointed after bookings for functions at a popular Beccles venue were cancelled because of refurbishment plans as it is turned into a Wetherspoon's pub.

The 16th-century King's Head Hotel went up for sale along with five other pubs and hotels in the region after the owner got into financial difficulties.

Now JD Wetherspoon looks set to buy the property, which has remained open since being put up for sale in December, after three companies owned by Suffolk property millionaire Richard Cattermole were placed into the hands of administrators KPMG because of financial liabilities.

Hotel and licensed property specialist Colliers Robert Barry was appointed by KPMG to sell six hotels across Norfolk and Suffolk.

But it has emerged that people who booked functions at the King's Head Hotel have been left disappointed after learning they had been cancelled.

David Nicholls, from Beccles, had planned a surprise 70th birthday party for his partner Patricia Ellis in November, but after hearing rumours about the change of ownership he approached management, who told him his reservation had been cancelled.

Mr Nicholls, 66, said he had booked a function room for a 50-person buffet, and several hotel rooms, and now faces rearranging the event at an alternative venue.

Mr Nicholls said he was told a wedding reception and three other birthday functions had also been cancelled,

He said: “It was a big surprise, but it is no longer a surprise because she's found out, so they've spoilt that.”

He added: “It's an absolute scandal.”

Last night a KPMG spokesman confirmed that some bookings had been cancelled.

“The new owners have decided that the premises need to go through a period of refurbishment which means unfortunately that some bookings have to be cancelled.

“Where possible we have tried to find alternative premises for those bookings.”

The spokesman said she thought new premises had been found for the wedding reception a few miles from the King's Head and that the couple's deposit had been refunded.

“Unfortunately not all bookings were able to be rescheduled at these premises and we apologise. The new owners hope the refurbished premises will help increase bookings and make more enjoyable surroundings for future bookings.”

A spokesman for JD Wetherspoon, which has 781 pubs nationwide, including the Troll Cart in Great Yarmouth and the Bell Hotel in Norwich, has confirmed it is in negotiations for the King's Head, adding it was hoped that the purchase would be completed in the next two or three weeks.

Of the six pubs on KPMG's list, the Wherry Hotel in Oulton Broad is the only one to have been sold, but the Duke's Head Hotel in King's Lynn, the Cliff Hotel in Gorleston, Lowestoft's Hotel Hatfield and the Cavendish Hotel in Great Yarmouth are all the subject of interested parties, a spokesman from Colliers said.

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