THE Maynard at Grindleford, which closed suddenly in October work forcing 50 couples to find a new wedding venue and putting 18 people out of work, is to reopen in January.
Award-winning new boss Rob Hattersley says it will continue in the weddings business and has made this offer to those left in the lurch. “I want people to feel they have a second chance of getting married here.
“I have already had one couple contact me. Within reason I will match the quote (people got from the old Maynard).”
He says the same goes for old staff who can reapply for jobs.
Mr Hattersley, aged 35, the son of Bakewell wine merchant John Hattersley, former proprietor of the town’s celebrated Aitch’s wine bar, has taken on the lease of the ten bedroomed hotel. He has set up a private limited company, Longbow Bars and Restaurants Ltd, to run the business from January 1.
He declined to name the new owner, saying he was “a very private individual.”
However I can reveal he is businessman and roofing tycoon Peter Hunt of Ashford Hall, Ashford-in-the-Water.
Mr Hunt owns roofing and cladding business Coverworld, based in Chesterfield, as well as a number of other businesses and properties. He keeps a low profile but hit the headlines in 1997 when he bought Thornbridge Hall from Sheffield City Council, which had used it as an educational establishment.
He was not anxious to talk to journalists about his purchase then but I did manage to have a quick word with him when he attended the contents auction, at which he bought a number of books.
He sold it on five years later to Jim Harrison, who was to found the renowned Thornbridge Brewery there, and his wife Emma, then boss of welfare-to-work A4e.
Mr Hunt did not reply to a request to comment on The Maynard.
Rob Hattersley, who was educated at Lady Manners School and took a BSc in hospitality management at Manchester Metropolitan University, comes to The Maynard (he is keeping the name but getting the hotel rebranded) with a career-long background in hospitality.
He has worked for the Revere pub group, the posh end of Marstons Brewery, and was until recently general manager of its flagship Farmhouse at Mackworth, Derbyshire, itself a weddings venue.
He announced on Instagram and Facebook that “I have big ideas to restore the life back into this iconic building with plans for the bedrooms, bar, restaurant and events.”
He told me: “I want to bring it into the modern age, doing things in a more acceptable way, making the food and drink more accessible. Everything I have ever done has all been premium.”
While he has moved away from the area (he worked for a time on cruise liners) The Maynard has always been in his heart. “We have had three family weddings there over the years. ” Although not his own. Rob is single.
He recently picked up general manager of the year in Revere’s annual awards.
Locals will be relieved The Maynard will continue as a hotel. There had been fears it would become luxury apartments, similar to others Mr Hunt owns, including the £300 a night Goldcrest at Stanton in Peak.
Not everything he does has met with local approval. He was in in a planning dispute over converting Bleaklow Farm, near Great Longstone, into luxury accommodation. The farm was demolished but the new building was bigger than allowed by planning permission. Locals in the nearby hamlet of Rowland have protested about a 14 bedroomed “large country house complex.”
The Maynard is to undergo considerable refurbishment, something Peter Hunt will be experiencing at home. With a liking for big, historic buildings he moved on after Thornbridge to Grade I Jacobean manor house Holme Hall, Bakewell (a location for the BBC’s 2006 version of Jane Eyre), before buying Ashford from banker and former High Sheriff of Derbyshire Jasper Olivier in 2009.
Grade II listed Ashford Hall, which stands in nearly 200 acres of prime farm land, is to be extensively renovated, subject to planning permission. Work is expected to take two years.
The Maynard will be reopen considerably sooner, probably by the end of January.