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image credit: Savills

The shock news that the Bay Hotel has been put up for sale again has reverberated around Pevensey Bay since the date of the post (19 February) that confirmed a sale is being considered.—Bay Life, 22 February 2018

proposed sale posted on Estate Gazette property link platform

The proposed freehold sale, posted on the Estate Gazette property link platform, explains that “the property comprises a three storey building of rendered brick construction under a multi pitched slate tiled roof.

“Internally the ground floor provides a traditional public house with a bar area (56 covers) to the right hand side and a restaurant (30 covers) to the left. The trade area benefits from a pool table surrounding a ‘U’ shaped bar servery. WC facilities are located to the rear with the back of house areas providing a commercial kitchen, an office, 2 store rooms and a children’s soft play area. Access to the first floor is from behind the bar”.

“At first floor level, there are 12 letting bedrooms in total, 11 of which are ensuite. There are 2 twin rooms, 2 family rooms, 3 single rooms and 5 double room”.

The presentation of the particulars suggest that what is being sought is a new owner that will run the hotel on the basis seen.

The hotel and public house is in a key location in the village and pivotal to the fortunes of the Bay as a visitor destination offering bed and breakfast accommodation.

The current landlady of the hotel and public house and restaurant, Karen Hudson, has won widespread praise in the village in relation to her work in the promotion of the hotel, since she arrived less than a year ago.

When she arrived, she explained to Bay Life “it is what it it is, the grand old dame of Pevensey Bay”, adding that she wanted to see the hotel promoted as a community hotel and public house, very much along the lines that everyone sees and loves.

To her credit she has focused on family orientated promotions including open mic nights, which have drawn three generations of family together, Disney Days and shows that feature bands of the quality and class of firm local favourites Two Hep Cats. These weekly events have seen the hotel and public house emerge again in local and visitor perception as a family destination choice.

Yesterday (February 21), a group of organisers were seen staking out the pub as the key venue for the pilot arts and literature festival that is to take place in Pevensey in the summer of 2018.

The public house has drawn national attention with the discovery that Tony Hancock, amongst many other famous people, stayed at the hotel on a regular basis, as Hancock’s Half Hour became so popular among radio audiences in the country. In a 2002 poll, BBC radio listeners voted Hancock their favourite British comedian.

Both Peter Sellers and Spike Milligan were here in the fifties. One episode of the Goon Show is even titled “The Great Pevensey Bay Disaster”.

Organisers of the pilot Pevensey arts and literature festival hope that both the Tony Hancock Appreciation Society and the Goons Show Preservation Society will be here with us at the Bay Hotel as the key venue this summer for the festival.

The historic context of the Bay Hotel in relation to the perception by local residents and the place of the hotel in the history of radio comedy in this country is marked.

Up until November 2016 the hotel was owned by the Chapman Group under the banner of Relaxinnz.

Paul Norman (3 November 2016), writing for CoStar, which tracks over 400,000 UK commercial property buildings, said “Dominion Hospitality, a subsidiary of private equity group Stellex Capital Management, has bought Chapman Group, owner of a portfolio of pubs in the South of England as it expands in the UK”.

What is unclear from the proposed sale, with the last change of ownership having taken place only in November 2016, is the basis on which a sale is being considered at this point.

The building has been been described as being “of quirky iconic late Victorian stature that carries with it, in the history of the enterprise and spirit, something of the essence of Pevensey Bay”, by the local history timeline association.

The Bay Hotel, built in 1897, is the cornerstone of our fortunes as a visitor destination that can offer accommodation.