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Pubs in Long Melford and Lavenham shut as family-owned business Stuart Inns is sold after going into liquidation

By Newsdesk Sudbury

Lorna Pissarro, James Sanders and Iaim Macmillan. (8172298)
Lorna Pissarro, James Sanders and Iaim Macmillan. (8172298)

Family-owned pub business Stuart Inns, which owns an award-winning Long Melford restaurant, has been sold having gone into liquidation.

Last week, signs were placed on the windows of The Greyhound in Lavenham and the Long Melford Swan, saying they were closed indefinitely “due to unforeseen circumstances”.

According to liquidator DKF Insolvency Limited, the two sites, as well as The Ram in Hadleigh, have been sold, with a number of jobs saved as a result.

Darren Wilson, of the Essex-based insolvency specialists, was appointed liquidator of Stuart Inns on February 12.

It came after a petition to wind up the company was presented by HMRC in the High Court last year.

In a statement, DKF said: “The company had been previously involved in a dispute with HMRC, which had resulted in legal proceedings being instigated, which the company had been defending.

“Unfortunately, the costs of defending these proceedings, coupled with increases to the living wage, pension contributions, business rates, price increases due to imports with a weak pound and other costs, meant the business was unable to continue.

“Out of the four sites the company previously operated, one in Girton, Cambridgeshire, had already closed prior to the liquidators’ appointment.

“However, the remaining three sites have been sold and a number of jobs saved.”

Stuart Inns was launched in 2011 and was run by siblings Lorna Pissarro and Oliver and Iain Macmillan.

In February, the family said they had made the decision to restructure the business, with individual family members taking a lead role in each site and group general manager James Sanders running operations.

A statement from Stuart Inns on February 28 said: “The aim is to both streamline and future proof the business.

“This will bring the family much closer to the day-to-day running of the restaurants and continue to build on the success achieved to date.

“The trio are developing three more hotel rooms at The Long Melford Swan this year, and are looking at ways to grow the business.”

The Long Melford Swan, which adjoins the Duck Deli, was voted UK Restaurant with Rooms of the Year by the AA in 2018.

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