Bride among creditors owed a slice of £500,000 after Gosport hotel venue operator went bust

A BRIDE who lost thousands in a wedding nightmare when the firm running her dream venue went bust is among creditors owed £500,000.

Tuesday, 16th April 2019, 7:00 am
Alverbank Country House Hotel, Gosport

The Alverbank Hotel in Stokes Bay, Gosport, has been under new management after the previous operator went into liquidation.

That has left a long list of businesses owed a total of £500,000 – with building firms, a pest control company and other companies all owed cash.

Emma Proud, 28 from Portsmouth, and her partner 32-year-old Richard booked their wedding at the hotel for June last year.

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Emma and Richard Proud lost thousands of pounds after booking their wedding at the Alverbank Hotel in Gosport. Picture: Keith Woodland (300319-3)

The couple said the leaseholder at the time, John Morgan, promised to do a lot of repair work at the time but it never came to fruition so quit their contract and were promised a 50 per cent refund of £2,500.

Nearly a year on the money never materialised, and after the company, Pridewatch Services Hotels, went into liquidation in December 2018, Emma fears she will never receive a penny.

The News has contacted Pridewatch Services Hotels but has not received a response.

Mrs Proud, who married her partner at a hotel in Portsmouth, said: ‘I realised that the things we had been promised weren’t being done, and so asked for a refund.

‘We were told that a wedding was happening that weekend, so then they would “have the money” to repay us – but that money never appeared.

‘Now that it’s gone into insolvency, I don’t think we’re ever getting that money back.’

Their plan had been to go on a road trip across America for a honeymoon but instead the couple have had to count the pennies and put this on hold.

Emma is on the list of creditors named by Cromwell Insolvency, which is dealing with the liquidation process.

Wedding Mai Design in Fareham is owed £7,000, and Arthur Peach Builders in Gosport is owed £20,000.

Kestrel Pest Control in Chandler’s Ford is also owed £162 dating back to April last year.

Emma said: ‘It makes me feel really angry – it was allowed to carry on and has probably left a lot of people out of pocket.

‘We saved so hard to afford that wedding, but because he cannot manage his business, our dream day turned into a nightmare.’

A spokesman from Gosport Borough Council said: ‘We’re very sorry to hear of Emma’s experience.

‘We tried for several years to recover rent arrears from the company operating the hotel at the time.

‘We were aware of the importance of the hotel to the community and the risk to jobs and booked events if it closed, so we attempted to work with the company on a way forward.

‘However, it became clear that the arrears would not be forthcoming and arrangements to end the lease began in September 2018.’

The council added the goal was to keep the hotel open to protect jobs and booked events – but said it could not publicly say the company was in difficulty while it was still trading.