Heartbroken Seafood Pub Company owner says she had no choice

The Seafood Pub Company, which owns ten award-winning gastro pubs across Lancashire and Yorkshire including the Assheton Arms in Downham, Oyster and Otter in Blackburnand Derby Arms, Longridge, has filed for administration.

The owners called in administrators and notified staff at the end of last week. Obviously the recent lack of income due to the current coronavirus pandemic has been a devastating blow, but the company did not qualify for the government’s coronavirus business interruption loan and investors have failed to secure funding from other sources.  

It goes without saying I am truly heartbroken, to have lost my business, but even more so for my team and seafood family

The Seafood Pub Company was also in the process of making up for last year’s £1.2m loss, which it incurred by investing in a series of one-off improvements and restructuring across the group. 

Founder Joycelyn Neve sent a letter to employees on Friday revealing the bad news and thanking all of her staff for their hard work and commitment.   

'It is with a very heavy heart that I am writing to tell you that we have not been able to secure the funding needed for the business to survive,' she wrote. 'As we were not granted a coronavirus business interruption loan the next step was for us to try and raise funding from the bank and our investors. Whilst both were supportive, the investor fundraise failed, as did my subsequent management buyout attempt.

'Without funding and no income since the forced closure, we have no choice other than for the business to go into administration.'

Joycelyn Neve Seafood Pub Company
Seafood Pub Company owner Jocelyn Neve outside The Derby Arms

Jocelyn Neve founded the Seafood Pub Company in 2010, building up a portfolio of contemporary cosy pubs and inns with rooms in locations known for their beauty. Although they offered a wide range of dishes and pub classics, they utilised their long connection with the fishing industry to specialise in fish and seafood dishes.

Jocelyn is the daughter of Chris Neve, who has been supplying restaurants all over the country with fresh fish and seafood for over four decades from their Fleetwood base.

2020 03 06 Fenwick Dinning Area
The pub group was known for its collection of cosy contemporary dining pubs in rural locations

In a statement, Miss Neve said: 'The past few months has been unprecedented for the hospitality industry. Unable to access Government support or other funding, and with no income since the forced closure, there is no choice other than for the business to go into administration.

'It goes without saying I am truly heartbroken, to have lost my business, but even more so for my team and seafood family. We fought as hard as possible, every step of the way and I am just so sorry to all the team that we weren’t able to save the business. 

'I can’t thank the team, guests, suppliers, neighbours and everyone who has been part of Seafood Pub Company enough, for your hard work, support and friendship the past nine years and especially for your kindness and well wishes in this incredibly difficult time.'

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