Shock as The Garden House in Stamford closes

Garden House Hotel, High Street St Martin's, Stamford

Garden House Hotel, High Street St Martin's, Stamford

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An award winning hotel and restaurant in Stamford has ‘shocked’ customers and residents by its sudden closure.

Family business, The Garden House in High Street St Martin’s in Stamford shut its doors on Wednesday last week leaving some customers and business suppliers ‘puzzled’ as to its closure.

The Mercury has been unable to contact the owners of the hotel to confirm the reason for the closure.

A number of customers, business suppliers and local groups and clubs have been in contact with the Mercury to discuss their ‘shock’ at the closure, which for many has only just been brought to their attention with no prior warning.

Customers from both the local area and afar have left numerous complaints online discussing bookings which they had booked well in advance being cancelled with ‘little notice’.

Margaret Forster, from Peterborough had booked Sunday lunch at the hotel for her husband’s birthday, they turned up on the day only to find the gates to the car park shut and the front door locked.

She said: “We later discovered that the Garden House had closed earlier in the week, but appeared to be still taking bookings online.”

Thankfully the couple went to the William Cecil and the restaurant made space for the couple so they could still celebrate the birthday.

Another customer, Allan McMorland and his fiancée, Sonia, from Market Deeping pre-booked a wedding celebration lunch which was due to take place on June 6.

On Monday last week the couple confirmed the arrangements with the hotel and paid a deposit of £250. The next day they received an e-mail from the events coordinator to say that the hotel had closed its doors.

After visiting the hotel on Monday they found that some furniture and fittings appeared to have been removed and a surveyor was surveying the site.

Mr McMorland said they made numerous phone calls and received their money back in cash yesterday.

Mr McMorland said: “It was suggested that the landlord, Burghley Estates could convert the building into apartments.

“We are fortunate in that we have time to make other arrangements and thankfully we got our money back.”

Elizabeth Bond, from Market Deeping got a shock when she went to pay the deposit for her wedding reception at the weekend and found the hotel door locked and the place empty.

Elizabeth had arranged to have her wedding reception at the hotel in June. She had previously visited the hotel and was shown around the facilities and arranged to come back in two weeks to pay the deposit.

On Wednesday last week the hotel contacted Elizabeth to confirm that it was still okay for her to come in and pay the deposit.

She said: “It was a real shock, I arrived about mid morning and no-one was there, the gates were locked and the whole place was empty. I’ve heard nothing from the hotel, it all seems to have just happened overnight.”

Richard Field from R&P Meats in Peterborough, one of the hotel’s suppliers, said: “We turned up on Monday and the door was locked and there was no one there.

“As a supplier I fear we may have have lost around £1,800 from the closure.”

A number of local community groups and clubs who have been using the hotel as a place to hold meetings, were just as shocked to hear about the sudden closure.

The Rotary Club of Stamford who have used The Garden House for its meetings for a number of years was called to the premises on Wednesday last week to retrieve all of its assets.

Jon Whowell, press officer of the Rotary Club of Stamford Burghley, said: “We are saddened by the sudden closure and are actively seeking a new home.”

A statement released by a spokesman for landlord Burghley House Preservation Trust said: “It is with great sadness that John and Janet Finlayson announce the closure of their business at the Garden House Hotel after 13 enjoyable years.

“John and Janet have decided to retire and would like to thank the many guests and friends for all their patronage and support over the last 13 years and to particularly recognise the outstanding contribution of the their loyal and hardworking staff.

“The property is owned by the Burghley House Preservation Trust Ltd who will now be considering all the available options to ensure the buildings are reopened as soon as possible.

“The buildings were first established as the St Martins Guest House in the 1930s and expanded to become a hotel in the early 1980s.”