Stanmer House’s current incarnation to close after going bust with debts of £287k

Posted On 30 Jan 2020 at 1:03 pm

Stanmer House by N Chadwick


Proud Country House is to close after the company which runs it went bust owing £287,000.

Alex Proud put the lease for Stanmer House up for sale in February last year saying he was struggling to run it as a “muddy dog venue”.

He bought it in 2016 from property developer Mike Holland, who had been jailed for manslaughter over the death of a carpenter working on the stables behind the main house.

But the venue suffered a string of bad reviews – sparked, Mr Proud said, by a conflict between what customers expected and what it is possible to provide at the Grade I listed mansion.

In July last year, Country House (Stanmer) Ltd went into liquidation owing creditors a total of £287,248.06.

According to the liquidators’ statement of affairs, this includes £56,975.49 owed to Brighton and Hove City Council and £70,586.30 in VAT. Alex Proud himself is owed £106,306.79.

Mr Proud told the Argus the venue is closing because of a rent increase. He said all the staff would be offered jobs at Proud Cabaret Brighton in St George’s Road.

Weddings booked at the venue will be cancelled as a result.

In 2016, Mr Proud secured planning approval from the South Downs National Park Authority to turn the house into a 22-bedroom hotel.

This permission was never implemented and runs out unless work starts by March this year.

The sub-lease put up for sale by Mr Proud last year was for 19 years with the right to renew.

The leasehold was also sold by Mr Holland and is now owned by Brighton businessmen Peter McDonell, Mark Ratcliffe and Christopher Gargan, founders of KSD Group, co-owners of Whitehawk FC and investors in Brighton and Hove Albion FC.

  1. Jon Reply

    Hardly suprising, it was a very shoddy operation. Poor food and service but with a high price point. As if that was ever going to fly. An expensive mausoleum to the owner’s ego.

    Lets’s hope the next operator knows what they’re doing, and cater for those who use the park – walkers, families and…muddy dogs!

  2. Louise Dumas & Roy Dupreez Dumas/ Dupreez Reply

    Thank heavens they’re gone. The beautiful house in its magnificent park deserves better – the Proud group were just an embarrassment, only opening one day a week and no idea of when that might change – terrible, expensive food and lack lustre service. If my experience of trying to book a luncheon party is anything to go by, they – and their London team – shouldn’t be in the hospitality business at all.

    I echo the comment above and will happily support the next owner if they can provide a decent cafe with friendly service and acceptable food.

  3. Irrelevant Reply

    Surprised it took so long! Awful place with no idea who it was catering for. Terrible service and offerings, overpriced, dated decor like a bad hen night / footballers wives. Such a beautiful location but they got it completely wrong.

  4. Anna Reply

    Couldn’t agree more and shoving us commoners out with our muddy dogs into the disastrously run adjacent marquee was never going to work!

  5. Stanmer Lover Reply

    Although I very much agree with all the above sentiments, there are a few inaccuracies in this article:
    The hotel planning permission expires in March this year.
    Alex Proud bought a sublease.
    KSD bought the long lease from Mike Holland.
    Brighton and Hove Council retain the freehold.
    Please check your facts!

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