Wedding plans for many couples using Chewton Place have been thrown into turmoil once again, a little over 12 months after a previous business went bust. Chewton Place itself does not organise events but lets the venue to function organisers. At Christmas 2011, Aspire Venues ceased trading, leaving many people out of pocket for deposits paid and without a wedding venue. Former Aspire employee Rebecca Bozeat-Manzi, worked to try and rescue arrangements and a new company, Bozeat Palmer Contracts, was subsequently set up to continue the business. Last week, that company wrote to customers with events booked at the Chewton Keynsham venue advising them that they had been given notice to quit by the venue owners, Longcap Developments. According to Ms Bozeat-Manzi, she believes the owners wanted the company out Chewton Place so they can consider alternative uses for the venue.
While customers with forward bookings lost their deposits after the collapse of Aspire, Bozeat Palmer has promised customers that any money paid will be refunded. A statement posted on the Chewton Place website says: “The directors of Longcap Developments Limited, the owners and Landlords of Chewton Place are forcing us to leave by 10th April 2013 meaning that we will not be able to run your wedding at Chewton Place. We asked Longcap for an extension and even agreed to a higher rent to allow time for you to make other arrangements for your wedding. Yesterday we applied for a postponement on compassionate grounds in the courts but in the face of Longcap’s solicitor’s opposition, the law could not help. Finally last night David Long confirmed to me that Simon Caple would not allow any extension. [David Long is the “long” and Simon Caple is the “cap” in Longcap. Simon was also the director of Aspire Venues Limited, the previous operating company from Chewton Place, which went into liquidation on Christmas Eve 2011].
This has all come as a great shock to us. We knew that Longcap had abandoned the outstanding works on the property and had refused to grant a lease on the terms we had been lead to believe we had agreed and understood. However we now are given to believe that Longcap may be applying for planning permission for a change of use of the property, David Long having confirmed to me that they had “given up on Chewton Place in its current use”. The only good news is that unlike with Aspire Venues Ltd, your deposits are safe and will be returned to you by Bozeat Palmer Contracts Ltd.”