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Council hits back after being blamed by Gorleston’s Cliff Hotel for business rate bill

Cliff Hotel

Cliff Hotel

Archant

A row has broken out between Gorleston’s most famous hotel and the council after the firm behind the hotel went into liquidation.

Panos Christophi , right, pictured in 2014 with the Gorleston lifeboat crew. Photo: Archant Panos Christophi , right, pictured in 2014 with the Gorleston lifeboat crew. Photo: Archant

GC Hotels Ltd, which ran the Cliff Hotel, said it was going into liquidation because Great Yarmouth Borough Council had given it an unexpected business rate bill last year of £160,000 which it could not meet.

But the council has questioned some of the claims made by the company.

The firm owes creditors, including many local suppliers and businesses, almost £1.9m.

At a meeting of the creditors it was agreed to push ahead with the voluntary liquidation of the company.

The council is one of the firm’s biggest creditors owed £169,000, according to a report from liquidators Parker Andrews.

In the report, GC Hotel’s director and owner, Panos Christophi, said the firm had been in negotiations with the council about trying to pay the business rate bill and had submitted a prepayment plan to the council which had been rejected. But the council denied this was the case.

It said the firm had not offered a payment plan and it was owed £113,000 in business rates for the last two financial years. The rate is set by the Valuation Office Agency.

The council said GC Hotels had paid their rates monthly via direct debit until November 2016, when they were notified by the Valuation Office Agency that the company’s rateable value had been revalued on April 1, 2015. They therefore owed backdated payments at the new rate to April 1, 2015.

A council statement: “The borough council actively highlighted to GC Hotels Ltd the option to appeal against the revaluation, and offered to be flexible during the appeal process.

“However, the business has not paid any business rates since October 2016, has not offered a payment plan and has not appealed to the Valuation Office Agency.”

The Cliff Hotel is open and being operated by a new company owned by the hotel’s general manager Daryn Ferguson and Antonia Hillier, who part owns the Cliff Hotel building and land with brothers Panos Christophi and Sotiris Christophi through a company called CAPS Property Ltd. The ownership remains unchanged. Panos Christophi has been contacted for comment.

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