Fire ravaged hotel will be closed for two months
WORK is progressing to get one of North Devon s best known inns up and running again after being damaged by fire last week. But the historic Hoops Inn at Horns Cross will remain closed over Easter, usually one of its busiest times of the year, and it coul
WORK is progressing to get one of North Devon's best known inns up and running again after being damaged by fire last week.But the historic Hoops Inn at Horns Cross will remain closed over Easter, usually one of its busiest times of the year, and it could be up to two months before it is fully open again.One hundred fire fighters fought the outbreak in the thatched roof and managed to save most of the Grade 2 listed building, which dates back to the 13th century.But it has lost half its roof, two of its 13 bedrooms, and there is other water, smoke and fire damage, which will require refurbishment."The fire and rescue service did a fantastic job. I cannot praise them enough," said owner Gerry Goodwin. "They were ultimate professionals, They were well organised, knew exactly what they were doing and got on with it. They effectively saved half the roof and half the top floor."But initial hopes of an early opening had been set back by the need to replace furnishings and discovery of damage to the ceiling in the main bar, which would now need replacement, said Mr Goodwin."We have cancelled our bookings for the next week and will now also be cancelling our Easter bookings. We could be closed for up to two months, but we will do it quicker if we can and will be monitoring the situation week by week."It was planned to involve staff in whatever work they could and the situation was being used to deploy some, in a training exercise, to look at and learn from operations in other restaurants and hotels in the region and to bring ideas back.But, inevitably, some would be without work while refurbishment was taking place, he said.At its peak the Hoops employs 35-40 people, including four chefs all year and six in the holiday season.With its reputation for use of good quality local produce, the Hoops would also be calling on local tradespeople to carry out the refurbishment works, said Mr Goodwin.It would be about three weeks before re-thatching of the roof could be started and this would take about three weeks to complete, he said.