Cherry Orchard complex to close

Promotional picture from Cherry Orchard's website

Owners ordered to rebate leaseholders

Part of the Cherry Orchard hotel and leisure complex in Port Erin is to close, with the loss of 25 jobs.

Some of the main tourism attractions - the timeshare operation, restaurant, Chequers bar and function suites - are shutting their doors for good, while the hotel company Cherry Orchard Apartments Limited, will cease trading.

It follows a long-running dispute about alleged over-charging of apartment residents, which resulted in a rent and rates tribunal ordering bosses pay back almost £90,000.

The owners, Robert and Ian Gillings say that has made operating the complex impossible. 

Cherry Orchard leaseholders took their case over maintenance charges to a tribunal in 2012, and although the ruling went in their favour, obtaining repayment required a further hearing.

The Gillings brothers have long disputed claims they overcharged for services, from heating and general maintenance to staffing the reception, and claim the £89,000 the tribunal has landed them, bears little relation to the actual costs incured.

After several appeals, the pair blame the tribunal's latest directions, which they describe as "unjustified", for their decision to close a large part of the complex. They say it's "simply impossible" for a hotel to survive in the circumstances.   

The landlord will continue to operate the apartments, self-catering and long let, and the swimming pool, and there's a promise all prepaid deposits will be honoured.  

In a statement, general manager Seamus Whelan has thanked the Manx public for their support over many years, and hopes they will continue to enjoy the "scaled-down business".

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