Two Norfolk hotels stop trading as owner of Shearings collapses into administration

PUBLISHED: 07:41 23 May 2020 | UPDATED: 09:36 24 May 2020

The Bay Carlton, Yarmouth. Pic: Bay Carlton

The Bay Carlton, Yarmouth. Pic: Bay Carlton

Two Norfolk hotels have stopped trading after a major hotel and travel company collapsed.

Shearings has gone into administration. Pic: ShearingsShearings has gone into administration. Pic: Shearings

More than 64,000 bookings have been cancelled and around 2,500 jobs lost due to the collapse of Specialist Leisure Group (SLG).

Travel trade organisation Abta said the coronavirus pandemic is the main reason for the collapse, as it struggled to issue thousands of refunds while new bookings ground to a halt.

As well as running well-known coach firm Shearings Holidays, SLG also operated hotels under different brands. Two in Norfolk are affected - the Bay Carlton in Yarmouth, which is on the seafront. It operated under SLG’s Bay Hotels brand.

Under the Coast & Country brand, the Golden Lion in Hunstanton is also affected. Both these hotels are now ceasing to trade, SLG said.

The Golden Lion. Hunstanton. Pic: Golden LionThe Golden Lion. Hunstanton. Pic: Golden Lion

In a statement it said: “The Specialist Leisure Group operated several businesses that sold holidays and other travel arrangements which have all ceased to trade, due to the impact of Covid-19. All hotels trading as Bay Hotels, Coast & Country Hotels and Country Living Hotels will not reopen.”

Its website gives a list of all the hotels which have now stopped trading. It includes both the Bay Carlton and the Golden Lion.

Staff at the Golden Lion in Hunstanton were gathering their personal belongings after the news.

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Shearings Holidays, based in Wigan, was founded in 1919 but was an amalgamation of companies dating back as far as 1903.

It operated several holidays bringing visitors to Norfolk, particularly the Broads and seaside resorts such as Hunstanton.

SLG owned several travel brands, including National Holidays, Wallace Arnold Travel and Bay Hotels.

SLG chief executive Richard Calvert said: “This is a terribly sad day for employees, customers and commercial partners of the Specialist Leisure Group and its subsidiaries which have entered into administration.

“The effects of Covid-19 on our 117-year-old company and the wider travel industry have been devastating.

“In the most trying of circumstances, over these past few months, we have fought tooth and nail to save the group and the jobs of our 2,400 loyal employees serving over 1.1m customers annually.

“It is heart-breaking that the required funding or investment could not be secured to get us through this unprecedented crisis in order to save SLG and our amazing travel brands.”

The vast majority of SLG’s cancelled bookings were coach package holidays, which are financially protected under the Bonded Coach Holidays scheme.

Anyone with a package holiday including a flight can claim their money back through Atol, which is operated by the Civil Aviation Authority.

Customers with hotel-only bookings are advised to contact their credit or debit card provider in a bid to retrieve their money.

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