Mitchells of Lancaster sell 11 venues to new company

Mark Chambers, Kaushik Mistry and Adam Draper
Mark Chambers, Kaushik Mistry and Adam Draper

A new hospitality company has bought nine pubs and two hotels from Mitchells of 
Lancaster as part of plans to build a nationwide chain.

Burton-in-Kendal based Provincial Hotels and Inns has acquired the venues including the County Hotel in Carnforth and the Clarendon Hotel in Morecambe.

Provincial has been launched by hospitality management specialists Onecall Hospitality, with backing from a small group of London-based private investors. The company is planning a series of further acquisitions over the next 18 months.

Mark Chambers of Onecall Hospitality, a director at Provincial, said: “Provincial will be a unique brand with a range of distinctive hotels and inns. Our aim is to take iconic but underperforming venues and breathe new life into them. Through a programme of refurbishment and restyling, and using our expertise in hospitality management, we will place them once again at the heart of their communities.”

The company said it will offer two types of inns.

Provincial said The Taps brand will be “proper pubs serving craft beers and a selection of bar snacks and nibbles”, while the family venues will offer “quality, value for money dining, coffee lounge and play areas”, geared to local demand. Mr Chambers, whose company Onecall manages pubs and hotels across the country said: “The hotels will be community venues and cater to market demand, rather than following a set formula.

“For example, the Clarendon at Morecambe will be inspired by the seaside holidays of yesteryear with a very traditional tea room, while the County in Carnforth will offer family dining but also provide a venue for events and functions – exactly what it was renowned for ten years ago.”

The portfolio comprises a mix of managed and tenanted properties. Kaushik Mistry, who owns the Slate Bar in Kendal, has been appointed operations director of Provincial. He added: “In addition to the investment in the properties, we will be providing tenants with marketing assistance and full support to grow their business.”

The sale by Mitchell’s is part of its strategy to focus on brewing and to grow its pub estate outside Lancashire. The company will retain the remaining 38 properties within its portfolio.

Alasdair Rudge of CBRE acted as property adviser for the sale. London-based broker Steve Shelley helped to secure the equity funding. Martyn Rickels of FRP Advisory in Manchester advised on debt finance, which was arranged by David Edwards at HSBC in Manchester.