Plans approved for ‘gusto hub’ in Derby: Plans to create a “gusto hub” in Derby, which would bring together a string of local eateries in a converted former tramway office built in the early 1900s, have been approved. The scheme, which involves the development of the former post office in Victoria Street, has been granted permission by the city council. The Post House will be a “rustic and industrial” venue featuring eight local independent operators set around a communal dining area and bar. It will open from 10am to 10pm, Monday to Saturday, closing at 8pm on Sundays and bank holidays, reports Insider Media. Council planning officers said: “The proposed development provides an opportunity to regenerate a building that has been empty for a number of years, providing additional vibrancy in this part of the city centre, creating jobs and securing the future conservation of the listed building.”

Former Skelwith Leisure chief executive went bankrupt owing £32m, new documents reveal: Former Skelwith Leisure chief executive Darren Broadbent went bankrupt owing £32m, according to new documents. In a bankruptcy document it was reported Broadbent had liabilities of £32.3m. A £3m property in Knaresborough, Netheredge, is on the market. He jointly owns properties in Knaresborough worth £540,000, solely owns a £2.75m property in York, and another of unknown value in Halifax. There are charges totalling £2.75m secured against the York and Halifax properties, and these properties have been repossessed, reports The Business Desk. Broadbent was the chief executive of Skelwith Leisure, the company behind a 300-bedroom hotel and golf resort in Flaxby that went into liquidation in September 2015. There was a legal dispute over the use of land after the plans for a golf resort were scrapped, with developers saying it would not be profitable. Former owners the Armstrongs took umbrage to the change of plans and a legal battle ensued. Creditors’ claims against Skelwith totalled £90m, with HMRC owed £51.5m in unpaid VAT, interest and penalties. Liquidators sold the Flaxby site for £10m to a new company, Flaxby Park, which has put forward plans for a new village on the site.

Freehold of Chesterfield building let to McDonald’s sells at auction for £1.64m: The freehold of a building home to a McDonald’s drive-thru restaurant in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, has sold at an Allsop auction for £1.64m, which means the buyer earns a 5.17% initial yield on their investment. McDonald’s holds a lease on the site, which is adjacent to the M1 motorway, until 2032 with no breaks until 2027 and pays an annual rent of £90,000. The site was one of 25 out of the 131 lots that sold for more than £1m, with eight lots selling for in excess of £2m. More than £87m was raised in total at the auction at Claridge’s this week, achieving a success rate of 84%. The highest value deal was a purpose-built industrial unit of 178,410 square feet on a 7.7 acre site in Halifax let to Gower Furniture until 2031, which sold for more than £4m, representing a net yield of 11.38%.

B&T Brewery reports fall in turnover as operating losses increase: Bedfordshire-based brewer and retailer B&T Brewery has reported a fall in turnover as it saw its operating losses increase. The company saw turnover drop to £2,290,332 for the year ending 31 December 2015, compared with £2,411,268 the previous year. Operating losses increased to £60,904 compared with £31,781 the year before, according to accounts filed with Companies House. B&T was founded in 1982 by Martin Ayres and Mike Desquesnes and its business model is that of a classic, vertically integrated brewer/retailer. It operates six pubs in Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Warwickshire and supplies to about 60 outlets in total. One of the pubs, The Albion in Ampthill, Bedfordshire, is a joint venture with Everards and is part of the Leicester-based brewer and retailers’ Project William programme, which allows B&T to stock its own ales on a free-of-tie basis.

Admiral Taverns to reopen Merseyside’s oldest pub next week: Admiral Taverns will reopen Merseyside’s oldest pub, The Scotch Piper in Lydiate, on Thursday (6 April) following a £140,000 restoration. A fire broke out in the thatched roof of the pub in Southport Road in early December, but Admiral Taverns will reopen it in time for the Grand National race meeting at nearby Aintree. The refurbished pub will offer cask ale and continental beers under new licensees Colin Rimmer and Jamie Green. Admiral Taverns property and strategy director Andy Clifford said: “We are thrilled to reopen The Scotch Piper, one of the crown jewels in the Admiral Taverns estate. It is a fantastic community pub dating to the 15th century and we’re proud to remain true to that heritage.” Green added: “The Grand National is a great event in the calendar so to be able to combine this with bringing back a fantastic community pub is wonderful news. The Scotch Piper is steeped in history and it’s a dream come true to be running this prestigious pub.”

Salt Yard Group chef director to step down to pursue new solo venture: Ben Tish, chef director of London restaurant company Salt Yard Group, is to leave the company after 11 years to pursue a solo venture. Tish joined the company in 2006 as head chef of Salt Yard, before going on to become executive chef and then chef director of the group, driving the food offer and helping to launch four further restaurants across the capital. Tish, who spent his formative years working with Michelin-starred chefs including Jason Atherton and Stephen Terry, will leave the company at the end of March. Dan Sherlock, Salt Yard head chef for the past three years, will step up as executive chef to oversee the restaurants. Tish said: “I’m incredibly proud of my time at Salt Yard Group and the talented team of chefs we have built over the past decade. The food scene has changed a lot in that time. I’m ready for a fresh challenge, and my next project will reflect that.” Salt Yard Group co-founder Simon Mullins added: “It has been a fantastic decade with Ben and we are all excited about his new venture. Ben’s departure is also a great opportunity for our extremely talented chefs to step into the spotlight and gain the credit they deserve.”

Freehold of Glasgow Travelodge goes on market for £2.6m: The freehold of a building in Cumbernauld, Glasgow, which is let to Travelodge, has gone on the market for offers in excess of £2,575,000. The 57-bedroom hotel in Auchenkilns Park has a current room rate of £3,365 per annum and is held on a long lease of 168 years unexpired. It is let on a 5A1 covenant to Travelodge Hotels for an effective unexpired term of 21.3 years and a current passing rent of £191,778 per annum, with five yearly uncapped Retail Price Index-linked, upward-only rent reviews. The hotel is close to the M80 motorway, Broadwood Loch, Clyde Football Club, Cumbernauld Outdoor Activity Centre, Palacerigg Country Park and Dullatur Golf Club. Agent Allsop, which is handling the sale, stated: “A purchase at this level reflects an attractive net initial yield of 7.00% and forecast reversionary yield of 8.12% (2020 review); assuming purchaser’s costs of 6.39%.”

Marco Pierre White to open first Wales site plus second in Northern Ireland: Celebrity chef Marco Pierre White is to open his first site in Wales, at Cardiff’s new Hotel Indigo in July, and will also open his second site in Northern Ireland next year. The Steakhouse Bar & Grill will open on the rooftop of the Cardiff city centre boutique hotel, which will feature 122 bedrooms inspired by three themes that celebrate the heritage of Cardiff and Wales – “made in Wales”, “industry” and “music”. The restaurant will offer 360-degree views across the city. Pierre White told Wales Online: “Cardiff is such a vibrant city and the location is perfect for my Steakhouse Bar & Grill. It’s going to be a big hit with diners and drinkers who are out for a good time and want to enjoy food and drink in a stunning setting.” Meanwhile, the celebrity chef will open his second site in Northern Ireland, in a 116-bedroom Holiday Inn Express to be built in Londonderry. The Marco Pierre White New York Italian restaurant will open in the £7m hotel being built by the Duddy Group, with a scheduled opening in “early 2018”. The hotel will also feature two meeting rooms and three retail units, and create 47 jobs on opening. White made his Northern Ireland debut when he opened a 98-cover Steakhouse Bar and Grill in the Park Avenue Hotel, east Belfast, in late 2015.

Eclectic sells lease of Lola Lo site in Oxford to Fever Bars: Eclectic Bars, the bars division of Brighton Pier Group, has sold the lease of its Lola Lo site in Oxford to Fever Bars. The site, which closed last week, will reopen as Fever on Thursday, 13 April, reports Cherwell. Earlier this month Fever Bars, led by managing director Mark Shorting, opened a site at the former Lola Lo in Lincoln having acquired it from Brighton Pier Group in November. Fever Bars operates almost 30 clubs and bars across the country. In its half-year results last week, Brighton Pier Group stated: “Oxford Lola Lo was assigned to another operator on 17 March 2017. This lease expires on 9 February 2021.”

Maguires snaps up Northumberland holiday park for £5.5m: Leisure and residential operator Maguires Country Parks has acquired a 43 acre holiday park in Bamburgh, Northumberland, for a reported £5.5m. A family-run operator of sites in Northumbria, North Yorkshire and County Durham, Maguires has set aside more than £1m to invest in modernising and updating the park, including adding 48 luxury caravan pitches to the 240-pitch site. Maguires Country Parks owner Billy Maguire told BDaily: “The Kaims Bamburgh site is a fantastic opportunity for our luxury holiday park brand. The site’s location and surroundings are perfectly suited to help us deliver our aim of providing beautiful, peaceful and relaxing country parks in first-class destinations. We have already allocated in excess of £1.25m to develop new pitches, improve service infrastructure and enhance the park.”

Manchester-based Damson Restaurant Group to launch rotisserie chicken concept as it converts remaining eponymous venue: Manchester-based Damson Restaurant Group is to launch a rotisserie chicken restaurant, pizzeria and craft beer concept in the city. The company, owned by Steve Pilling and Simon Stanley, will convert its eponymous fine-dining restaurant in Heaton Moor to the new format, called Roost. The site will undergo a revamp ready to open in early April. Half of the building has already been turned into Spanish tapas bar La Cantina, which opened last September and has since expanded to a second site in Didsbury Village. Pilling told the Manchester Evening News: “We’ve bought a rotisserie from Paris and we’re going to be doing rotisserie Goosnargh corn-fed chicken with lots of nice sides like slaws and sweet potatoes.” Wood-fired pizzas – a mainstay on the menu at the company’s Pall Mall cocktail bar Liquorice in the city centre – will also be served alongside a range of craft beers sourced from far and wide, including a house ale brewed at its First Street micro-brewery bar The Gasworks. The company previously closed its Damson restaurant at MediaCityUK but Pilling said it was not necessarily the end of the brand. He added: “We’re not letting go of it, we’re cryogenically shelving it. It’s such a well-rounded product at some point there will be an opportunity for us to revisit it in a more appropriate, probably less formal way.” Next month, Damson Restaurant Group will also close its Moor Top pub, which the company took over in 2015, for a five-week refurbishment.

Former MasterChef The Professionals star Tom Simmons to open first restaurant in June: Former MasterChef The Professionals star Tom Simmons is to open his first restaurant at the One Tower Bridge development in London in June. The eponymous venture will join a new Ivy brasserie and a 900-seat theatre at the development. The Welsh chef, who was the youngest competitor to reach the quarter-finals of the BBC show in 2011, will be first to open on the Southwark site. Set over a mezzanine split level, the restaurant’s interior will be a mixture of rustic and contemporary design with wood-panelled walls, a slate bar and Welsh oak tables. Influenced by both British and French cuisine and with an emphasis on Simmons’ Welsh heritage, the menu will include roast cod loin with asparagus, haddock scotch egg and hollandaise; and salt-baked beetroot with goat’s cheese and apple salad. Speciality beers and wine by the glass will sit alongside a wide list of bottles. Simmons said: “Eating fresh and with the seasons was a way of life for my family; much of my childhood was focused around food and nature. I have fond memories of gathering ingredients to cook in my mum’s kitchen. Being surrounded by wonderful produce, and the joy I found in food and sharing it, is what first inspired me to become a chef.” Most recently Simmons, who has previously worked with Mark Sargeant and Tom Aikens, headed the kitchen at Wolfscastle Country Hotel, where he was awarded two AA Rosettes within a year.

Manchester-based cereal cafe Black Milk to start expansion with second Northern Quarter site: Manchester-based cereal cafe Black Milk is set to start expansion by opening its second site in the city’s Northern Quarter, on Monday (3 April). Oliver Taylor and Andy Young launched Black Milk Cereal Dive inside alternative department store Afflecks in 2015 and extended it following high demand. The new, larger branch will open in Oldham Street, taking over a unit left empty by vegan restaurant V Rev after it moved to Edge Street last year. An evolved menu will feature colourful smoothie bowls and 1950s-style whipped shakes and sundaes made using cereal-flavoured milk and ice cream. There will also be a new breakfast menu featuring overnight oats and cereal-infused waffles, along with blended drinks such as frozen hot chocolate and coffee. A selection of the debut cafe’s most popular cereal dishes and freakshakes will remain at the heart of the menu, which is almost entirely vegetarian with plenty of vegan options. The new site will open later to cater for Deliveroo orders and feature a dedicated events space.

Former St John chef to make solo debut in Kilburn High Road next week featuring Irish cuisine: Former St John Bread and Wine chef Ruairidh Summers will open his first solo restaurant on Wednesday (5 April) in Kilburn, north London. The restaurant, called Summers, will open above the recently refurbished Sir Colin Campbell pub in Kilburn High Road, with a focus on Irish cuisine and elevated “country cooking”. The menu will feature plenty of game, with seaweed making an appearance, and dishes such as crubbeens (breaded pig trotters), smoked eel croquette with Irish mustard, beef shin and Guinness pie, and porter cake crumble with malted barley ice cream. The pub will also offer soda bread and Irish stew alongside traditional Irish music at the weekend. Summers told Hot Dinners: “Discovering the dining room above the Sir Colin Campbell was like opening Tutankhamun’s chamber – it was untouched since the 1950s. Originally lived in by the legendary landlady, we kept the layout and much of the interior as we found it. Her beautiful pantry, complete with the original cooling terracotta tiles, is now my pantry and it is a joy to use.”

PizzaExpress to close Bolton site on Sunday: PizzaExpress is to close its restaurant in Bolton, Greater Manchester, on Sunday (2 April). The company said it was shutting the venue in Wood Street to concentrate on its other sites in the area. The restaurant, which is within grade II-listed Aspen House, opened towards the end of 1999. PizzaExpress regional director Graham Fenwick told This is Lancashire: “We have made the decision to close our restaurant in Bolton to focus trading on the various restaurants we have in the surrounding area, including nearby Bury, Prestwich and the seven sites we have in Manchester. As is always the case with PizzaExpress, we are working with all team members affected to find them alternative roles within the business.” PizzaExpress has more than 400 restaurants across the UK.

Grumpy chef to launch alfresco restaurant in Devon: Chris Sherville, who launched the Two Grumpy Chefs venture last year with two Michelin-starred chef John Burton-Race, is to launch an alfresco restaurant in Devon. There will be no theme to the menu at The Vineyard Kitchen, which will launch at the Sharpham wine estate, near Totnes, on Good Friday (14 April), but it will feature local produce, especially seafood, pork, lamb, fruit, cheese and wine, and quintessentially British puddings. The alfresco site overlooks the River Dart at the 500-acre estate and will open six days a week during the summer months (June to September). Sherville told Devon Live: “I like a bit of theatre so we have a wood-fired oven and people will see directly into the flames and watch what’s going on. It’s important to have that relationship with the customers as well as the food. I will use wine in the cooking, obviously. They have a lovely fizzy pink that I’ll use in a jelly served with oysters and pickled cucumber.” Two Grumpy Chefs has been organising and cooking for private and corporate events in the UK, from the “intimate to the outrageous”, since its launch in July. Burton-Race won a coveted Catey Award in 1995 and has appeared on numerous television shows, including I’m A Celebrity.

Duchy Hotel Group sells three Torbay sites for £12.5m: The Duchy Hotel Group has sold three hotels in Torbay to Fairtree Capital through agent Savills. The Headland Hotel in Torquay, and The Palace Hotel and The Queens Hotel, both in Paignton, were sold for £12.5m. In total, the hotels offer more than 200 bedrooms and a range of bars, restaurants and spa facilities. Martin Rogers, head of UK hotel transactions at Savills, said: “The Duchy Hotels are three well-established businesses in popular coastal locations. We are pleased to have secured the sale of these hotels for our client following a competitive but confidential marketing process. This represents yet another regional hotel purchase by an international investor, part of a growing number of global enquiries for regional assets procured through Savills’ global hotels team. ”