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Engaged couples have been left heartbroken after their planned wedding venue suddenly closed - and one groom-to-be now has a permanent reminder of his cancelled wedding date.
After forking out £4,000 to book his dream wedding venue, Michael Crane, 37 got the time and date of his upcoming nuptials - August 5 - to his fiancée Linda Brown, 42, tattooed on his arm - only for it to abruptly shut its doors.
They were not alone as when the Best Western Park Hall Hotel in Lancashire suddenly closed on Monday (Feb 7), there were a number of couples in a similar predicament who had booked the place as their wedding venue.
As the hotel has since ceased to serve as a wedding venue, there are plans to reopen the space as a hotel for asylum seekers.
Police had to be called on Monday when furious couples turned up to demand their money back.
A shocked Michael - who paid £180 to have the date and time of his wedding tattooed on his left arm ahead of the big day - described booking the Park Hall Hotel for their wedding as "a nightmare ever from the beginning."
Michael Crane, 37, and his fiancée Linda Brown, 42, were disappointed when their wedding got cancelledMatthew Newby/SWNS
He said: "It's shocking really. Never in a million years did we think they would shut down.
"It's a beautiful room, they have an old medieval hall and when it's done up it looks smashing. The room sealed it for us.
"But since we booked it, the hotel has shut down twice. It's been a nightmare ever from the beginning.
"They blamed the lockdown but the government guidelines didn't say they had to shut at the time.
"You don't expect that from a hotel attached to a name like Best Western."
The couple, who have been together four years, paid £4,000 up front for the wedding and it was just before Christmas when Michael decided to get the time and date of their wedding inked on his left hand.
He added: "I've got a lot of tattoos, but since getting my Covid jab they don't heal very well so I wanted it to heal in time for the wedding."
Luckily, the couple have been able to rearrange their wedding for the next day at a different location, so he will get the 5 on his tattoo adjusted to 6, but the time on his inking will be wrong.
Michael said: "We booked it October.
"I only found out on the weekend when I saw a google review that somebody said they'd enjoyed the stay but the hotel was closing on February 7. We weren't even told."
Michael was also concerned that family travelling from America who had booked to stay at the hotel for their wedding won't get any of their money back either.
Meanwhile, frantic couples confronted staff at the hotel on Sunday when news spread on social media of the imminent closure.
Adam Weate, 32, and Danielle Sugden, 29, was one of the unlucky customers who had also been due to tie the knot at Park Hall on May 7.
The groom-to-be dashed to Park Hall on Sunday night to be told that if he returned at 11am the next day there would be someone on hand to offer explanations and a refund.
Upon their return to the venue at the allotted hour, they were faced with a scene of chaos and were uaable to speak to anyone in authority.
They were only given £1,000 out of the £2,500 they had paid out and were left with more questions than answers.
Adam has described their experience as a "total rollercoaster" as he explained it wasn't the first time their wedding had been cancelled at the venue.
Adam Weate, 32, and Danielle Sugden, 29 already had their wedding at Park Hall cancelled twice when it was cancelled again after the hotel had closed its doors.Matthew Newby/SWNS
“Our wedding had been cancelled twice at Park Hall already. It was due to Covid, there was nothing they could do about that, but they didn’t handle it with any sort of empathy.
“Then on Sunday night we saw on social media that the place was going to close.
"I dashed there late at night and the told me to come back 12 hours later and all would be sorted - but it wasn’t.
“We got £1,000 of the promised refund but no explanations, including the rest of the money and all the guests who were booked in."
Former Wigan Athletic chairman Bill Kenyon, who owns nearby Holland Hall, has offered both couples the use of his venue for the same price they paid Park Hall.
Kenyon said: “There can’t be many things worse than seeing lots of finely-tuned wedding plans going wrong.
“We hope we can at least help some of the couples affected.”
Jenni Halliday, Serco’s contract director for asylum accommodation services, said: “With the significant increases in the number of people arriving in the UK we have been faced with no alternative but to temporarily accommodate some asylum seekers in hotels.
"These hotels are only used as a last resort but as a provider of accommodation services on behalf of the Home Office we have a responsibility to find accommodation for the asylum seekers that are being placed in our care.
"The Serco team is working extremely hard to move people into dispersed social housing as rapidly as possible.”
Best Western has been approached for comment.
SWNS reporting by Ashley Pemberton and Charles Graham.
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