STAFF at Pembroke Dock’s Cleddau Bridge Hotel face a sad start to 2018, following an announcement yesterday, December 27, that the hotel is expected to close on January 2.

The staff, many of who have worked at the hotel for up to a decade, were told the shocking news at a staff meeting.

Posting on the website, General Manager Natalie John said: “It is with great regret, I am writing to inform you that the Cleddau Bridge Hotel will cease trading as of January 2 2018. With numerous staff having worked here for over 10 years it is a sad time for us all.”

Speaking to the Western Telegraph, Natalie said she had only learned the news from owners Kullar Hotel Group on Boxing Day, arranging the staff meeting for the following day.

“I’m trying to speak to the owners and find out more information, I was in shock, massively.

“Hospitality is very hard to try and make any money in, tourism has dropped dramatically in the last few years; it’s hard to get people in, especially in the winter.

“We’ve roughly 40 people working and we’re all very sad at this time, I’ve known some of them for 15-16 years, we’re all a functional family.”

The hotel has previously been subject to rumours of closure.

Natalie said: “The previous rumours were always false, which is why we were shocked, we didn’t see it happening, but I completely understand, looking at the figures.”

Natalie said efforts had been made locally to find the staff new jobs locally, with some success.

She said that anyone who had booked the hotel as a wedding venue would have their money refunded, or efforts would be made to open it for them.

Local county councillor Joshua Beynon said: “Sad news this morning to see so many people lose their jobs. The Cleddau Bridge Hotel has been in existence for as long as I can remember and this announcement has come at a shock to myself and Pembroke Dock as a whole. I have written to both the owners and Welsh Government asking for support to be provided to staff during this process.”

Mid and West Wales AM Eluned Morgan, said: “This news comes at the worst time of the year for the thirty staff and their families. I will be working with the local councillor to seek support for those affected by this decision.”

The hotel's owners, Kullar Hotel Group, blamed a drop in tourism and a fall in trade after the closure of the Murco oil refinery.

"This has been a very difficult decision but a drop in tourism coupled with a loss of trade following the closure of the refinery have created extremely tough trading conditions for us and, despite every effort, we are simply unable to operate as a profitable business.

"We fully appreciate that this will be an extremely tough time for all our staff and their families. Our priority now lies in doing all we can to support them in finding new employment as soon as possible.

"We would advise anyone with an event booked to contact the hotel as soon as possible. All efforts will be made to honour bookings where possible, with refunds available if this is not possible.

"We would like to take this opportunity to thank all our wonderful staff and customers for their continued loyalty over the years. It is with deep regret that we are having to make this very tough decision."

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