In today’s Exmouth Journal, nestling among articles on the themes of Boy Stuck in Railings and dog bites dog, lies the rather more concerning headline “Bank takes over top hotel“, the hotel in question being the Royal Beacon, home of the West of England Championships and the Beacon Seniors Congress these past 12 years.
Hotel staff there assured me tonight that all bookings for the immediate future, including the 2012 WECU Easter Congress, would be honoured. The hotel was fundamentally profitable and it was in no-one’s interests to close it down as a knee-jerk reaction.
The Royal Bank of Scotland and their subsidiary, Nat West, foreclosed on Tuesday after giving the former owner, Paul Nightingale, a final 3 hours notice to come up with loan and overdraft payments. The RBS/NatWest have put in administrators RSM Tenon Recovery, a spokesman for whom told the Journal, “The hotel continues to trade as we review the hotel’s financial position. We will be looking to sell it as a going concern. It has generated quite a lot of interest. Those who have booked weddings have been contacted and current bookings will be honoured“. I am assured this includes the chess events.
So from this, I would estimate that this year’s Easter Congress is reasonably secure, as things stand; there’s no need for panic at this stage. The question is whether the new management,whoever they may eventually be, will be as kindly disposed towards these events as were the former owners, who could both take the wider view of how the presence of these events benefitted both the hotel’s and Exmouth’s local economy.