DIFFICULT financial times have hit Bridlington businesses hard, with pubs and town centre shops closing down and leaving other landlords considering their futures in the town.
The Ship Inn at Flamborough closed on Monday and The Blue Bell Hotel at Burton Agnes, is in voluntary liquidation while it is believed the town’s Burton menswear store is expected to shut down in the next few months.
These businesses join fast food restaurant Burger King, which announced in November last year that it had closed its seafront branch due to poor sales and a lack of support during winter months for the past three years.
The Blue Bell Hotel went into voluntary liquidation after a meeting of the company last month concluded that it not continue operating.
The pub had re-opened in August 2009 after a £1.5million investment and the creation of around 30 new jobs.
The 18-bedroom hotel is now in the hands of Driffield and York-based liquidators Redman Nichols Butler who are overseeing its voluntary winding-up.
Businessman Bahram Shokrollahi oversaw the impressive renovation of the venue, which had been empty since 2002, and hoped that it would become the hub of the local community.
He was unavailable for comment on its liquidation.
The Ship Inn at Flamborough closed on Monday this week, with its landlords Kim and Anna Crampin unexpectedly packing their bags , according to local resident.
A spokeswoman for Punch Taverns, which owns the business, said: “We can confirm that Ship Inn has closed and our priority is to re-open the pub as soon as possible.”
In the town centre, the Burton menswear store on King Street looks like another casualty of the recession and is thought to be closing in the spring.
The store currently employs 10 staff. The Free Press had not received a comment from owners the Arcadia Group before going to press.
Hoteliers Steve and Pauiine Ellerington of The Mount guesthouse on Roundhay Road are not surprised that businesses in Bridlington are struggling and they are seriously considering shutting up shop after a miserable season,
“It’s because of the trade,” Mr Ellerington said. “There’s just absolutely nothing doing around here.”
“I work full time all over in places like Whitby and Scarborough and there’s lots going on in other places to attract people, but there’s nothing going on here.”
Mr Ellerington said one of the biggest problems for him and his wife has been the Spa not attracting enough people to Bridlington.
He said the redevelopment of the seafront venue had been a waste of time for himself and other guest house owners because it failed to bring in enough big acts to pull the crowds into the town.
“It was £20 million and there’s one day this month with something decent on. It’s been a massive disappointment for all that money,” he said.
A quiet summer trade, plus big utility bills have added to problems.
“At the moment we’re paying about £1,200 a month in gas and electric, but we’ve just got no guests coming in,” Mr Ellerington said.
“Last year we were full at Christmas, but this year we didn’t have one booking for Christmas. We’re not alone, everyone in Bridlington is struggling,” he added.
Despite this rather bleak prognosis, the president of Bridlington Hotel and Guest House Association, Peter Davidson, is more optimistic about the future of the town’s businesses.
He said: “We have actually had at least five guest houses close down, but there are new people coming in which means that there is still a market for them.
“I actually think that Bridlington is on the up and there are a lot of guest house owners in our association who are looking forward to a really good season.
“We have turned a corner in terms of the regeneration work, Pembroke Garden looks great now, and the plans for the town centre in the Area Action Plan look fantastic - I know that they are a good four or five years off, but it does mean that Bridlington has a future.
“Some businesses have shut down because of the economic climate, but there are also some positives to look forward to,” added Mr Davison.s