I am very sad to tell you that I have taken the difficult decision to close The Fleece. The combination of unrelenting chronic staffing issues and ever-increasing costs mean we are simply unable to continue operating at this time.
Our bar and restaurant will close at 5pm on Sunday 30th July. In order to honour room bookings for our guests over the remainder of the summer, we will operate a bed and breakfast only service throughout August. The hotel will close fully on Friday 1st September.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our team for their commitment, resilience and positivity over what has been an extremely difficult period of time. In particular, I would like to thank Claire, Ali and Shelley for their unrelenting efforts in doing everything possible to make The Fleece a place we can all be proud of.
I would also like to thank our loyal customers for their support over the past few years. We have thoroughly enjoyed serving you.
To be absolutely clear, The Fleece has not “gone bust”. I am choosing to close at this time to ensure that we can do it on our terms and in an orderly way. All of our employees, suppliers and other creditors will be paid on time and in full as they always have been.
Whilst I do not want to appear bitter (although I am a little to be honest!), it is imperative that our Government take action to provide much needed support to businesses like The Fleece. We do not need a hand-out but we must be able to keep more of the money we generate. Since opening in May 2019, in addition to the increasing costs we have had to contend with, the Fleece has paid c£350k to HMRC in VAT and a further £100k in Employer National Insurance and Business Rates. That figure would have been higher had it not been for the temporary VAT reduction in 2020-22.
It is an enormous burden for a fifth of our income to be taken in VAT in addition to the other taxes we pay before any profit is made. We simply do not have the luxury of passing the 20% VAT cost onto our customers and this decimates our profit margins. We need our Government to recognise this and to help us.
We don’t want hand-outs but we do need to be able to make profits.
Let me finish by saying thank you once again to my team and to our loyal customers. I really am very sorry that it has come to this.
You won’t need to count sheep when you stay at The Fleece! Every bedroom has been newly renovated to bring you all the comforts of home with big comfortable beds for those that need to sleep, to stylish desks for those who need to work. We also have two adjoining rooms for families. All our rooms are ensuite, many are pet friendly, and include fantastic walk in showers or luxurious baths in our deluxe rooms. If you are looking for that extra bit of luxury then why not treat yourself to the Castle Suite. Join us at The Fleece and treat yourself to some real Yorkshire hospitality.