Tears as hotel ‘jilts’ 50 wedding couples

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The Maynard in Grindleford is to close

FIFTY couples who thought they going to marry at The Maynard in Grindleford will  be looking for a new venue after the shock news the hotel is to close by the end of October.

The Downing family, who have been losing money on the hotel they bought 16 years ago, have accepted an offer from buyers who insist on remaining anonymous.

It’s a big blow to brides wanting large wedding venues in North Derbyshire, coming as it does after the closure of another, Hassop Hall. That has been bought by local care home businessman John Hill and his wife Alex.

Contrary to rumour, this is being converted to their private house and not as a nursing home.

Within hours of the announcement going up on The Maynard’s website the rival East Lodge Hotel at Rowsley tweeted it was standing by.

The tweet said: “We are a similar sized venue to The Maynard, also set in the beautiful rolling hills of the Derbyshire Dales. We still have a few slots for weekend weddings in 2019 and can pull out all the stops to make your wedding happen.”

Paul Downing, aged 50, said his family would be ending their involvement in the hospitality business after more than 60 years. The hotel had been on the market for the last two years.

It is understood the initial asking price was £2.4 million but local gossip has it being sold for considerably less.

Their company previously held catering franchises at Sheffield’s Cutlers’ Hall and Whirlowdale Hall, among others.

Paul, who said the closure meant 18 staff losing their jobs, added he genuinely did not know what the new owner planned but hoped that it could eventually continue as a hotel. It has not been refurbished for 13 years. “I hope it will reopen in the not too distant future.”

(Locals are speculating on what it might become, possibly private apartments as it is way too close  to the main road as a private family residence.)

The Maynard has a capacity for almost 140 wedding guests but “weddings are not that big any more and people are not spending the money,” he added. And the number of  guests has halved to around 50.

Half a dozen couples who had planned a Maynard wedding will be immediately affected in the next two months, 50 in total in the next two years.

Paul said weddings, on which many hotels rely to survive, had declined enormously. “There has been a 50pc decline in the couple of years. It is not a case of if another one (hotel) goes, it is when.”

As a restaurant critic I always rated the view from the hotel’s dining room as one of the best ‘chews with a view’ in the locality. It was noted for a mural which showed the view as it would look towards Hathersage if the trees weren’t in the way! That was painted over a couple of years ago.

The Maynard, a hotel for about a century besides the old turnpike road, now the B2651, was previously known as the Maynard Arms. It changed its name in 2007 in a burst of modernisation.

*The Maynard will cease trading a midday on Monday, October 28. The bar and restaurant will be open on a limited basis until then.

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