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Time called on another Suffolk pub as mountain of debt revealed

PUBLISHED: 10:46 02 April 2019 | UPDATED: 15:20 03 April 2019

The Hadleigh Ram.

The Hadleigh Ram.

Archant

A third Suffolk pub has closed following the collapse of its holding company which owes more than £200,000 to the taxman.

The Lavenham Greyhound pub, near Sudbury Picture: PHIL MORLEYThe Lavenham Greyhound pub, near Sudbury Picture: PHIL MORLEY

The Hadleigh Ram, in Market Place, Hadleigh, announced yesterday it would be closing indefinitely due to “unforeseen circumstances” through a post on its website.

It mirrored posts made by the The Lavenham Greyhound and Long Melford Swan at the weekend.

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All three gastro pubs were run by Stuart Inns Ltd, which collapsed in February and entered liquidation.

The holding company was launched in 2011 and run by siblings Oliver Macmillan, Lorna Pissarro and Iain Macmillan, along with their father Andrew Macmillan. Oliver Macmillan resigned as a director of the company in January 2019, and Andrew Macmillan resigned in September 2018

A bitter dispute with HM Revenue and Customs, rises in the living wage and increased business rates all contributed to the firm’s downfall.

In its Statement of Affairs, published in February, the company’s woeful financial situation was revealed – with more than £2.5m owed to creditors. The majority of the debt, £2,141,049, is owed to other businesses operated by the Macmillan family.

It also owes HMRC £215,211.89, Lloyds Bank £39,679.80 and Barbergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils £43,104.84.

The buildings in which each of three pubs operated were owned by pub and brewing giant Greene King – which is owed £150,000.

However, Greene King is now hoping to reopen the pubs as soon as possible.

A Greene King spokesman said: “We were extremely disappointed to hear of Stuart Inn’s decision earlier this year to liquidate the company as it was unable to meet significant financial obligations to a number of parties, including ourselves and HMRC.

“Since being made aware of the company’s financial difficulties last year, we went to great efforts at the time to try to support them.

“Regrettably, we now have no choice but to recruit new partners to run these pubs as all our agreements with Stuart Inns ended when the company went into liquidation.

“Our sympathies are with all those staff employed by Stuart Inns as well as everyone else affected by the liquidation.

“We would like to reassure residents and customers that we are working to protect the long-term future of these pubs and hope to reopen them all as soon as possible.”

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