‘New’ owner pledges to re-employ former staff

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PEOPLE living in Needham Market are relieved at the news that a much-loved hotel, restaurant and pub will be re-opening in two weeks.

The Limes Hotel, in High Street, has been bought at auction by Richard Cattermole – the man who headed the Elizabeth Group which owned the hotel but which went into administration in December 2009.

Ipswich-based property entre-preneur Mr Cattermole has pledged to re-open The Limes and re-employ staff within the next two weeks.

Administrators KPMG had managed to sell 13 hotels and 13 public houses in the Elizabeth Group portfolio but failed to find a buyer for The Limes.

The hotel was sold at auction by Strettons, in London, last Monday after closing its doors in March.

Mr Cattermole plans to re-open the hotel on April 29 and hopes to re-employ most of the 25 members of staff who were made redundant when the hotel closed.

Former hotel manager Geoff Rackham will resume the position he has held for more than 19 years at the 11-bedroom grade II listed hotel.

Mr Cattermole said: “When you have loyal people like Geoff and they are put out on the scrapheap, you feel very loyal to them and we re-purchased it.

“We have got to spend some money on it and refurbish it.

“But I am sure we will get 99 per cent of the customers back.”

Needham Market residents were shocked in March when KPMG announced that the popular hotel would close and town councillor Phil Wright led a campaign in a bid to save the hotel.

He is very pleased that it will be re-opening.

“It is a relief. It’s a good bit of news. It just seemed such a farce to close it in the first place,” said Mr Wright.