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Shropshire Hotelier Leaves Local Suppliers Unpaid

Howard Astbury leaves unpaid debts of The Lion Hotel Shrewsbury

Howard Astbury leaves unpaid debts of The Lion Hotel Shrewsbury

Owner of the Lion Hotel in Shrewsbury, (Howard Astbury pictured left) who has left hundred’s of local suppliers unpaid, since he took over 5 yeas ago, has been forced to go into Voluntary Receivership, after building up debts of over £100,000. It was reported on Boxing Day on the font page of the local paper, the Shropshire Star that receivers had moved in to work with Mr Astbury to ensure that over 90 suppliers are paid for the proceeds of the 2.9M sale of the hotel.

It was reported that MCR Corporate Restructuring said the business would continue as normal and it was working with Mr Astbury to realise as many assets as possible. A letter sent to creditors by MCR Corporate Restructuring reveals a total of 33 organisations in Shropshire, and 90 overall, are owed a combined total of about £103,000.

Among the local creditors owed money are the hotel’s Wyle Cop neighbours Tanners Wines, which is owed £12,950; the Three Tuns Brewery in Bishop’s Castle which is owed £989; and Shrewsbury-based Cottesw- old Dairy Ltd, which is owed about £831. Others include Lyreco in Telford, which is owed about £763, and The Wood Brewery in Craven Arms, which is owed £676. Nationally BT is owed £661, Severn Trent is owed £2,194 and Npower is owed £111, alongside an undisclosed figure owed to locally based Midlands restaurant marketing company Leisure Marketing Midlands LTD who provided services to the hotel.

In a letter to creditors John Whitfield, from MCR Corporate Restructuring, said: “Howard Astbury is intending to make a proposal under section 253 of the Insolvency Act 1986 for an Individual Voluntary Arrangement to his creditors.” Richard Merrin, a spokesman for MCR Corporate Restructuring, said that a creditors’ meeting will be held on January 9, where creditors will vote on whether to accept the proposals.

James Day, Director of Shropshire based Leisure Marketing Midlands LTD who carried out works for The Lion Hotel, and is owed an undisclosed figure added “We had worked with Howard over recent years, advising on his restaurant, hotel and beauty salon marketing, and he operated the successful ‘Chefs Table’ concept at The Ludlow Food Festival for 2 years, on behalf of our clients Dining Club, but Howard became unable to pay any of the bills due, despite good results. We personally honoured the monies owed to the suppliers on behalf of the Lion Hotel from the Ludlow Food Festival concept,  but have been warning our suppliers, and other customers  about Howard’s tactics for some time, alongside his low opinions of the needs of suppliers. ” James added  “It is a sorry state of affairs that individuals such as this can operate in such a  way, thinking that a smaller supplier cannot fight for what monies are due, but reassuring to see that the system protects such producers by operating such arrangements to ensure they are paid – personally I think all smaller suppliers should insist on payments if debtors go outside the pre-agreed terms, as in this climate we cannot afford to carry the debts of others – we, alongside all the other creditors I am sure look forward to retrieving the monies due.”

Mr Astbury said he did not want to comment.

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