East Angelia-based hospitality group Chestnut has raised £7m through an injection of capital from a range of private investors, which it plans to put towards growth and expansion.
The funding will support a comprehensive upgrade programme and fuel the acquisition of six assets in the region, beginning this week with the completion of the Maltings hotel in Weybourne, Norfolk. The group has already been undertaking a comprehensive refurbishment programme across several of its existing locations.
Ashley Norton, head of strategy at Chestnut, said: "There is so much potential in East Anglia and we're excited to be leading this next phase of growth at Chestnut. The opportunity across the region is clear: Norfolk's tourist visits increased by 38% in 2020, and with an uplift in the population by 500,000 predicted over the next five years, the expanding area is set to see more visitors from London and surrounds, all with a desire for quality and convivial pubs, inns and restaurants."
Philip Turner, founder of Chestnut, added: "Our trading performance post-lockdown tells us that investment in the ‘Garden Tipis' was the right call, and that momentum seems to have carried through as we have continued to invest in people and properties across the portfolio. Our shareholders have been enthusiastic in supporting the next phase in our development, as we look to capitalise on the increasing confidence and opportunities for the Chestnut brand in the region.
"The past 18 months have been incredibly tough for the industry and for the people behind the scenes that make it so special. While we have been incredibly busy at a corporate level, our primary focus has been our people. Group-wide initiatives have brought our teams together, re-enforcing our appreciation of Chestnut's values and building culture in our growing community."
The group is also funding an Employee Assistance Programme, in conjunction with Hospitality Action, including a 24/7 hotline for employees and their families and counselling sessions, and has decided that all its properties will be closed for Christmas and Boxing Day 2021, to allow every member of staff time off with their loved ones.
Chestnut's 12-strong collection of pubs, inns and restaurants includes the Packhorse Inn in Moulton near Newmarket, the Rupert Brooke in Grantchester on the outskirts of Cambridge, the Northgate in Bury St Edmunds and the Cricketers in Clavering (pictured).