Administrators have been appointed to oversee four Northern Powerhouse Developments hotels.
Philip Duffy and Sarah Bell of Duff & Phelps have been appointed joint administrators of Caer Rhun Hall in Conwy (pictured) and the Fourcroft hotel in Tenby, Pembrokeshire. The businesses continue to operate while a buyer is sought.
Companies House shows that Gilsland Hall in Brampton, Cumbria and the Esplanade in Scarborough, North Yorkshire are also in administration, but open and operational. CG&Co has been appointed as administrator.
Duffy and Bell were appointed interim managers of parent company Northern Powerhouse Developments last month, which included chairman Gavin Woodhouse’s care homes businesses and planned Afan Valley Resort near Port Talbot in Neath.
At the time Duffy said the appointment was to “secure the assets of the company while enabling a detailed assessment and forensic investigation into where many millions of pounds have gone”.
Northern Powerhouse Developments was founded by Woodhouse to focus on investment in the leisure and tourism industry. The group operates a funding system whereby investors forward-buy rooms in the hotels, and this money is used to purchase and develop the properties.
The group’s portfolio also includes: the Imperial Crown in Halifax, West Yorkshire; Fishguard Bay hotel in Goodwick, Pembrokeshire; the Queen’s hotel, Llandudno; Llandudno Bay hotel and the Belmont in Llandudno; as well as two hotels under development, Dunsmore Hall Country hotel in Rugby, and the Atlantic Bay hotel in Woolacombe, Devon.
Northern Powerhouse Developments’ hotels are managed by Whisper Hotels, the trading name of Giant Hospitality, one of a myriad of companies of which Woodhouse is a director.
The Guardian and ITV published an investigation into the finances of Woodhouse’s companies and the recent departure of two of Northern Powerhouse Developments’ advisers: HVS London chairman Russell Kett and former Center Parcs managing director Peter Moore.
Following its publication the group issued a statement saying it “strenuously denies any wrongdoing” and “will regroup, take advice from a range of specialists, including insolvency practitioners, and work to ensure its long term future”.
Former Best Western GB chief executive Richard Lewis resigned from his position as chief executive of Northern Powerhouse Developments Hotels on 20 December 2018 and left at the end of his notice period on 20 June.
The Caterer has been unable to reach Northern Powerhouse Developments since the issuing of its earlier statement, quoted above.