Centre cancels all bookings

Paul Hopper

Paul Hopper

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A BRIDE-TO-BE is facing a race against time to find a new venue for her big day after her original booking was cancelled just 12 weeks before she is due to tie the knot.

Mum-of-two Leanne Henderson, 29, a drugs worker from Hartlepool, is getting married to Simon Dove, 37, on Thursday, April 5, at Hardwick Hall and had booked her evening celebrations at The Mayfair Centre, in Seaton Carew, two days later.

But after having all her plans in place and sending out the invitations, Leanne was shocked to get a call from bosses at The Mayfair saying the event had to be cancelled as the venue is at the centre of a planning application which could see the site sold off for housing.

Plans have yet to be passed to Hartlepool Council’s planning committee.

But Mayfair boss Paul Hopper has taken the decision to cancel all pre-bookings now to avoid having to let people down at the last minute should the situation change.

Leanne said: “They rang and said that they have to have a cut-off point. I’ve now got 12 weeks to find a new venue.

“The Mayfair was perfect because it wasn’t over-priced and I had a picture in my mind of how the room would look.

“Other places are probably going to be a lot more, so we’re now desperately trying to find somewhere else.”

Mr Hopper, owner of the Tees Road-based venue, is awaiting the outcome of council planning decisions that could potentially see the site sold and developed into homes, and sports and leisure facilities.

Mr Hopper says he has done the “responsible” thing in calling off events now, three months before they were due to take place.

This way, he said, the people who booked the events – of which there are four – should have sufficient time to find alternative arrangements.

He also said that since he decided to sell five years ago, all those who wished to book an event were informed of the situation.

Mr Hopper told the Mail: “The whole process is subject to planning and at the moment Hartlepool Borough Council hasn’t put it to a planning committee yet.

“What we were trying to avoid was dropping somebody in it a couple of weeks before their event.

“We wanted to be responsible and thought that informing people three months before was a reasonable amount of time, bearing in mind everybody had been informed that this has been an ongoing situation for five years anyway.”

He added: “We have been quite up-front with everybody.

“There are four parties that we’ve had to inform and they have, or are, making alternative arrangements.

“In this lady’s case, I appreciate that cancelling the booking might have been a problem and we’ve suggested lots of places to the her that she either has tried, or doesn’t like.

“We are sensitive to her situation and we will continue to try and come up with other suggestions for her.”

Persimmon Homes Teesside hopes to build 276 new properties close to the Mayfair Centre that could see the creation of what has been described as “world class” sport and leisure facilities.

As well as providing jobs as a result of the building work, bosses say it will also include the regeneration of the Mayfair Centre and surrounding facilities.

If it gets the go-ahead, work could start this year.