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Fritton hotel in jeopardy

PUBLISHED: 08:00 09 January 2009 | UPDATED: 07:53 01 August 2010

THE economic crisis has claimed its latest victim after operations at a hotel on the Somerleyton estate were suspended.

Fritton House owner Hugh Crossley revealed that tough trading conditions during the last quarter of 2008 and a pessimistic forecast for 2009 were at the root

of the decision announced this week.

THE economic crisis has claimed its latest victim after operations at a hotel on the Somerleyton estate were suspended.

Fritton House owner Hugh Crossley revealed that tough trading conditions during the last quarter of 2008 and a pessimistic forecast for 2009 were at the root

of the decision announced this week.

Mr Crossley, the son of Lord and Lady Somerleyton, said the decision had not been taken lightly and was necessary to protect the estate's other businesses.

He added: “The estate's long-term ambition remains focused on developing Fritton House, which would give us the economies of scale needed to ensure robust levels of profitability.

“However, having failed to win vital planning consent at the end of last year and with the worsening economic climate, I am clear this is the best mid-term strategy for the long-term viability of the business.”

Mr Crossley said the decision was taken after he witnessed a fall in the number of people using the boutique hotel's restaurant and booking overnight stays.

Up to six people could be made redundant from the business while other employees were facing a reduction in their hours.

He had wanted to make the business more viable by expanding the hotel complex to more than

30 rooms, but was unable to obtain planning permission.

The existing hotel will remain available for hire for weddings, private and corporate events, and private lettings. A core team of staff will remain to support the events business.

The building, a 15th-century former inn, is the gateway to the Fritton Lake country park on the Norfolk/Suffolk border and was opened as a hotel in 2006 after £500,000 of investment to convert it.

Mr Crossley said he was committed to the estate's other businesses, including the Duke's Head pub at Somerleyton and keeping Somerleyton Hall open to the public.

Meanwhile, he has stressed those with existing bookings at Fritton House would receive full refunds.

He added: “We would like to thank all the guests and diners that have supported the hotel over the past three years.”

Fritton House will be available for private hire from next month. For more information call 01493 484006 or email events@ somerleyton. co.uk

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