‘Business as usual’ despite action on cafe bosses’ former company

Glentress Peel
Glentress Peel

A PETITION to wind up a Peebles hotel company, granted by a court in March, will not affect the operation of a cafe at the state-of-the-art mountain biking complex in the region’s most popular visitor attraction at Glentress Forest.

That was the assurance yesterday from Claire Bony who, with her husband Olivier, are directors of GT Restaurants Ltd, which, on January 24 last year, was named as the preferred bidder by the Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS) to run the cafe at Glentress Peel.

The firm, registered as a company the same day, was later awarded the contract under a 10-year lease.

In a press release at the time, FCS said of the firm: “This is a new Peebles company which has been set up by Claire and Olivier Bony, the owners of the Glentress Hotel. They already run a number of businesses including the hotel’s popular restaurant and self-catering units in Peebles.

“Their local presence, coupled with the hotel being situated at the entrance to the forest, has given them valuable experience of catering for the mountain bike and visitor market for a number of years.”

Announcing also that Edinburgh-based Alpine Bikes was the preferred bidder for the mountain bike shop at the £8.5million complex, FCS district manager Bill Meadows commented: “We have undertaken a very thorough, open and fair tender for commercial opportunities and I’m very pleased the process has produced two companies with many years of experience in the mountain bike and leisure market.”

Prior to setting up GT Restaurants Ltd, Mr and Mrs Bony were the named directors of Glentress Hotel Ltd, which was registered on March 28, 2006.

According to company accounts posted on November 3, 2010 – more than two months before the preferred status of GT Restaurants Ltd was announced – Glentress Hotel Ltd had, for the period up to March 31, 2010, liablities of more than £172,000, while its assets were £4,282.

On March 15 this year, a petition was presented to Peebles Sheriff Court on behalf of the Commissioners of Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) craving the court to order that Glentress Hotel Ltd be wound up and a liquidator appointed.

The sheriff clerk’s office confirmed this week that the winding-up petition had, indeed, been granted.

Asked if this action against a company which had run the hotel cited in the preferred bidder announcement would have any impact on the operation of the Glentress Peel cafe, an FCS spokesman said this week: “The court action with Glentress Hotel Ltd is not an issue for us to comment on directly as we have no involvement in the running of the hotel. It is a commercial/private issue for the owners.

“The management of the Glentress Peel cafe is a separate commercial venture with us and GT Restaurants Ltd and it is business as usual there.

“We are enjoying a good working relationship with the tenants [GT Restaurants Ltd] and are continuing to work with them to provide a great facility at Glentress.”

Mrs Bony told us yesterday: “Glentress Hotel Ltd is a dormant trading company which has nothing to do with GT Restaurants Ltd and thus has no impact whatsoever on the running of the cafe or, indeed, the hotel, which is open for business as usual.”

Asked if Glentress Hotel Ltd, which is still listed as having a Companies House status of “active” on the companycheck website, had settled the liabilities listed in its 2010 accounts, Mrs Bony said: “I have no comment.”