A company that claimed to be building a collection of prestigious four-star hotels in the North of England has had its two properties repossessed amid a fraud squad probe and reports that its chairman has taken an overdose.
Pendlebury Hotels owned the 13-bedroom Scaitcliffe Hall hotel in Todmorden, Lancashire, and Thurland Castle, near Carnforth, Lancashire, which it was converting to a hotel.
Only two weeks ago, the group said it was aiming for 10 such properties within five years. It had appointed a new group general manager in Patrick Hedderman, previously general manager of Slaley Hall in Northumberland (Caterer, 23 July, page 14).
But last week Scaitcliffe Hall was closed suddenly and a receiver appointed under the Law of Property Act. The process was akin to that of a building society repossessing a house, explained receiver Angus Martin, of Leeds-based Deloitte & Touche.
Martin said he had been appointed by the Yorkshire Bank, which had lent money against the two properties and was now calling the loan back in "for various reasons". At the time of going to press, the receiver was still deciding whether to sell the hotel as a going concern.
Meanwhile, West Yorkshire Police said in a statement: "An individual connected with the hotel company is under investigation by fraud squad officers."
Pendlebury chairman David Edgar is reported to have taken an overdose while on holiday in Italy, but a Foreign Office spokeswoman would confirm only that he had been admitted to hospital.