Mystery over sudden closure of Dereham hotel

Uncertainty surrounds the future of a landmark hotel and restaurant in the centre of Dereham which has closed suddenly.

Blinds at the historic George Hotel and Lottie's Restaurant have been shut for two days and the business could not be reached by telephone yesterday.

The Times understands that staff were told that the hotel, on Swaffham Hill, was closing and they had lost their jobs on New Year's Day.

Owner Allyson Marlow confirmed on Monday that the business was not open, but did not wish to comment further.

A sign on the front door read simply 'We are closed today' but it had been removed yesterda despite the hotel remaining shut.

The 18th century coaching inn appears on a map dating back to the 1757 and sits on the threshold of Dereham's busy market place.

Another prominent Dereham pub, the Cherry Tree, closed this time last year after serving the town for more than 200 years.

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National pub chain JD Wetherspoon opened the Romany Rye at the site of the former Phoenix Hotel in Church Street in April last year and had become very popular in the town.

The revamped hotel included 22 en-suite rooms, a function room and conference facilities.