Peebles hotel staff facing redundancy as lockdown takes toll on firm

Staff at Peebles Hydro hotel are facing an uncertain future after its owner announced that 241 workers across its portfolio are facing redundancy this summer.

By Kathryn Wylie
Monday, 8th June 2020, 11:47 am
Updated Monday, 8th June 2020, 2:42 pm
The Peebles Hydro.
The Peebles Hydro.

Crieff Hydro Group, which operates the four-star Peebles spa and hotel, says it will start a consultation with affected staff in August after booking were wiped out by the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown.

The family-owned group, which owns seven mainly rural hotels, including Crieff Hydro, Peebles Hydro and Ballachulish Hotel, is planning to shed more than a quarter of its worker.

Sign up to our daily The Southern Reporter Today newsletter

Proprietor Stephen Leckie blamed a significant downturn in business as a result of the pandemic.

He said he expects bookings to be down by 30-50% this year.

“When we closed our doors at the end of March it was one of the darkest days in our 150-year history and this is another,” Mr Leckie said. “The impact coronavirus has had on our industry and business has been immediate and drastic.

“As a family-run business built on the strength of our people, discussing potential redundancies is the toughest step we’ve ever had to consider.

“I am personally devastated for every one of our team who could lose their job.”

The number of job losses at the 132-room Innerleithen Road hotel could be reduced or increased, depending on the pace at which lockdown regulations on the hospitality industry are eased.

He added: “For every month we’ve been closed with zero income, we’ve had to pay £500,000 just to keep our buildings safe and insured. “This would have a profound effect on any business.”

The company has used the UK government’s Job Retention Scheme as well as securing an additional £5m in bank loans, however there’s fears that lost revenue while the hotels remain closed could amount to at least £17m in this financial year.

Peebles Hydro was build in 1878 and rebuilt in 1907 after it was completely destroyed by fire two years earlier.

Crieff Hydro bought the Peebles Hydro from McMillan Hotels in 2014.

Last month jobs were lost in Melrose after Waverley Castle Hotel closed its doors after its owners went into administration. More on that here: https://www.thesouthernreporter.co.uk/business/reaction-hopes-buyer-will-be-found-melrose-hotel-after-owner-enters-administration-2863736