Richard Phillips closes Chapel Down Vineyard restaurant after council cuts wedding numbers

01 February 2012 by
Richard Phillips closes Chapel Down Vineyard restaurant after council cuts wedding numbers

Chef-restaurateur Richard Phillips has closed his restaurant at Chapel Down Vineyard in Kent, after Ashford Borough Council restricted the number of weddings the venue could host.

The restaurant, which was run by the chef's company, Kentish Dining Rooms (KDR), for four years, shut last week.

In a statement, the company, which also runs Thackeray's in Tunbridge Wells, and is a partner at the Hengist in Aylesford and Pearson's Arms in Whitstable, said the closure had been a "very difficult decision".

"It has been made chiefly due to the restriction made by Ashford Borough Council Planning Department to the venue's wedding licence. The effect of the decision has created a negative impact on the venue's projected income," it said.

"The site at Chapel Down Vineyard offers an excellent environment which has been extremely popular with wedding parties and remains a destination venue. Together with the loss of wedding income, the dramatic change in economic conditions has increased trading pressures on the restaurant."

Chapel Down chief executive Frazer Thompson said the decision was disappointing.

"While it's a tough business environment out there at the moment, the restaurant has had tremendous trade since it opened in July 2008. In addition, English wines in general and Chapel Down in particular is an exciting place to be right now as we enter Diamond Jubilee and Olympic Year."

However, he insisted that it was not the end of a vineyard restaurant and said it would reopen with a new partner, or be run by the vineyard.

"We've helped to create a £1m restaurant business and we intend to get the operation trading successfully as soon as possible."

Atul Kochhar closes Vatika and plans to relocate restaurant to London >>

By Kerstin Kühn

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