Employees ‘gutted’ and given no notice after Weston pub closes

PUBLISHED: 12:00 07 May 2018

The Imperial in South Parade.

The Imperial in South Parade.

Archant

Staff are ‘devastated’ after a Weston pub closed its doors once again last week.

The Imperial in South Parade.The Imperial in South Parade.

The Imperial pub, in South Parade, shut unexpectedly on April 26 with its owner citing ‘personal reasons’ for the decision.

Staff were told to call last orders at around 4.50pm before the doors were locked on the restaurant which had been open since 2015.

The building is owned by Chris and Mike Sanders who leased it to business partners Chris Baldock and James Willis-Bowden.

Mr Willis-Bowden unexpectedly left the business in October and left it to Mr Baldock.

The Imperial in South Parade.The Imperial in South Parade.

One former employee, who asked to remain anonymous, said they were ‘gutted’ about the Imperial’s demise.

They added: “Mr Baldock put his partner in charge of the business and took a step back.

“She loved it and it was doing really well. We were making money over Christmas but when he came back he got more involved with the business again.

“It all went bumpy from there, people stopped coming in and the atmosphere completely changed.

The Imperial in South Parade.The Imperial in South Parade.

“I recognised nobody whereas I once knew most of the people who walked through the door.”

Staff were only told of the decision to close hours before the pub shut.

The employee said: “It was Mr Baldock’s decision and he said to members of staff the business was shutting not due to lack of profits or reputation – even though they were two issues – but for personal reasons.

“There was no staff meeting to discuss it.

The Imperial in South Parade.The Imperial in South Parade.

“Most of the staff have children and they were gutted. People were in tears over it.

“I’ve never seen a closure dealt with like this – it was shoddy.

“The place was like a little family and we kept it going and everyone was devastated.”

Fortunately, all of the staff members were able to secure 
new employment, with some staying in the hospitality industry while others will try new ventures.

The Imperial in South Parade.The Imperial in South Parade.

Mr Baldock was approached for comment by the Mercury, but declined to speak about the pub’s closure.

The Imperial was bought by Butcombe Brewery in March 2012, but closed in January 2013. It was also run by Claudio De Carlo in 2015 before it closed and was reopened by Mr Willis-Bowden.

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