Needham Market: Auction date set for town’s popular Limes Hotel

A POPULAR hotel and pub that closed at the start of the month is to be offered for sale and auctioned off within weeks.

The Limes Hotel in Needham Market High Street was one of 26 hotels and pubs formerly owned by the Elizabeth Hotels group which went into administration in December 2009.

For more than a year The Limes continued trading but last month it was unexpectedly announced it would be closed and sold at auction after no buyers showed a strong enough interest in taking it over.

Meetings were held by residents and town councillors, who were given just three days’ notice, in a last-ditch bid to save it.

Dozens of people turned out to show their support for The Limes but nothing could be done and the deadline passed, with 25 people losing their full-time or part-time jobs.

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Now administrators KPMG have confirmed the property is to be offered for sale at auction on April 4 by London-based Strettons.

Needham Market town councillor Phil Wright, who helped mobilise support for the hotel, said the development was a “real shame.” He said: “They shut it, and that’s that – there’s going to be an auction.

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“Some sort of legal entity would have to have been set up (for the community to step in and save The Limes) and it would have been do-able, with a little more time.”

He hoped that any prospective buyer would want to reopen the venue, which he remained convinced was a “viable business.”

He added: “I have heard that somebody might have put in an offer for it two days after it closed, but that’s just a rumour.

“It’s always popular and the group, when it went into receivership, shut 13 hotels – but not The Limes.

“If you go down Needham Market High Street on a Sunday now there are people wandering around thinking about which pub they should go into.

“None of the pubs really give the same sort of thing that The Limes did. It’s a real shame.”

Speaking last month when the closure was announced, Allan Graham, of KPMG, said: “We have continued to trade the business since our appointment as administrators in December 2009, but have been unable to reach completion with any interested party for The Limes Hotel.”

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