Elderly couple left out of pocket after sudden closure of Fife hotel

The sudden closure of a hotel in Kirkcaldy has left one couple £1000 out of pocket.

Christine and Ian MacDonald who were due to have their Diamond Wedding celebration at The Royal Hotel in Dysart this Saturday. Pic: George McLuskie.

Christine and Ian MacDonald were planning to celebrate their Diamond Wedding at the Royal Hotel in Dysart, and had paid in advance … just days before the venue closed.

Eighteen jobs were lost and the hotel owners, Catherine and Allan McColl said they have been left homeless and jobless after an agent acting on behalf of the Scottish Government’s insolvency service turned up last Thursday morning, and took over.

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They ran the Royal Hotel for 13 years.

Christine and Ian MacDonald paid the balance for the event last Monday only to discover a few days later the hotel had shut. Pic: George McLuskie.

But news of its closure has left some customers out of pocket ...

The MacDonalds, both aged 79, had hoped to enjoy a family celebration there this weekend.

The Auchtertool couple paid the balance last Monday with no warning that the hotel was about to shut.

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The Royal Hotel in Dysart closed last week with the loss of 18 jobs. Pic: George McLuskie.

Mrs MacDonald said: “They phoned my son to say the balance for the function was due so we went down on the Monday to pay i. The owners said nothing. We had booked a high tea for 72 people and a band - the owners said they were going to set up the tables and put balloons up.

“No-one from the hotel phoned us to say it had had closed. We only found out because my daughter-in-law, councillor Judy Hamilton, heard it had closed at one of her surgeries.”

The couple had paid a £200 deposit in January, and a further £860 in cash last week.

“Luckily we have managed to book the event into the Dean Park Hotel in Kirkcaldy instead,” said Mrs MacDonald. “The manager there said he has taken on another two functions from The Royal for April.”

The couple’s son Johnny went to the hotel last week and found the doors shut.

He said: “I tried calling a couple of times but to no avail, so I decided to down to see what had happened.

“The doors were locked with a sign saying to contact agent Wylie & Bissett.”

According to information on the website for The Scottish Government’s insolvency service, Accountants in Bankruptcy, a petition for bankruptcy was initially lodged on November 15 at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court by HMRC’s enforcement and insolvency service.

Accountants in Bankruptcy was appointed on February 20 and it asked accountancy firm Wylie & Bisset in Glasgow to act as its agent.

The McColls have apologised to their 18 staff, who have been made redundant, and to their customers who have been left out of pocket.

Catherine and Allan claim they have been involved in a dispute with their bank for the past seven years which centres around the terms of a hedging loan the couple took out.

They say they were forced to change the terms of their loan which has resulted in their current financial difficulties.

Catherine said: “We were just following the advice we had been given from our lawyer. We had a phone call on the Wednesday afternoon to say they were coming in the next day. We thought they were going to come in and take control of things and help us find a way of paying off the debts. We had been turning the hotel around.

“Instead they just shut us down immediately on the Thursday, and told the staff they were being made redundant and that they should go home.”

She added: “If I had known when the lady came in to pay for the Diamond Wedding that this was going to happen I would never have taken her money. We were wrongly advised.”