The Fleece becomes third business in Richmond town centre to announce closure due to cost increases

The Fleece Hotel, Richmond.

The Fleece in Richmond has announced it is to close, with the owner blaming problems finding staff and the increase in costs.

It is the third business in the town this week to announce they are to close after the Cross View Tea Room and York House gift shop also said they were shutting.

The Fleece said it would be shutting its bar and restaurant at 5pm on Saturday.

Owner Chris Miles said in a statement: “I am very sad to tell you that I have taken the difficult decision to close The Fleece.

“The combination of unrelenting chronic staffing issues and ever-increasing costs mean we are simply unable to continue operating at this time.”

To honour room bookings for guests over the remainder of the summer, the business will then operate a bed and breakfast only service throughout August.

The hotel will close fully on Friday, September 1.

Chris added: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our team for their commitment, resilience and positivity over what has been an extremely difficult period of time.

“In particular, I would like to thank Claire, Ali and Shelley for their unrelenting efforts in doing everything possible to make The Fleece a place we can all be proud of.

“I would also like to thank our loyal customers for their support over the past few years. We have thoroughly enjoyed serving you.”

The owner stressed that the business had not “gone bust”.

He added: “I am choosing to close at this time to ensure that we can do it on our terms and in an orderly way.

“All of our employees, suppliers and other creditors will be paid on time and in full as they always have been.

“Whilst I do not want to appear bitter (although I am a little to be honest!), it is imperative that our Government take action to provide much needed support to businesses like The Fleece.

“We do not need a hand-out but we must be able to keep more of the money we generate.”

Chris said that since opening in May 2019, in addition to the increasing costs, the business have had paid around £350,00 in VAT and a further £100,000 in employer national insurance and business rates.

“It is an enormous burden for a fifth of our income to be taken in VAT in addition to the other taxes we pay before any profit is made.

“We simply do not have the luxury of passing the 20 per cent VAT cost onto our customers and this decimates our profit margins. We need our Government to recognise this and to help us.

“We don’t want hand-outs but we do need to be able to make profits.

“Let me finish by saying thank you once again to my team and to our loyal customers. I really am very sorry that it has come to this.”

Announcing their decision to close, the Cross View Tea Room also blamed the cost of living crisis for its decision to close with immediate effect.

The owners said in a statement: “We have come to the devastating conclusion that no amount of hard work is going to balance the books.”

3 Comments

  1. Perhaps the owners and (former) employees of such businesses will remember this when voting in the next General Election. Just because Richmondshire has had Tory MPs for more than 100 years doesn’t mean it has to continue.

  2. I support the comments made by Chris Miles. Government needs to understand the value of independent businesses and the fact that they need to be profitable. Running a business takes dedication and sheer hard work. A sad loss to Richmond. Hopefully the PM will take note.

  3. I have a hospitality business in Barnard Castle. We have been here 32 years & our costs have also jumped massively & seen many changes The business rate system is flawed & very unfair, where some pay nothing & many paying the full amount. This year we do have a 75% discount, but what will it be next April, will it be back at 100%. If this happened, I will close my doors too. The building of the retail parks have destroyed our town centres, they are in a dreadful state. This country has too many fast food chains & people are not just having it now & again, they are living off it, no wonder obesity is on the rise. I have had our local MP to see us who agree small businesses are the backbone of the country, but unfortunately central government do not live in our world. I blame this government for the dreadful state of our country’s town centres, pure greed.

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