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Newbury Hilton jobs under threat in re-branding

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All 35 posts may go after £10m refurb for new Premier Inn

All 35 jobs at the soon-to-be defunct Hilton Newbury Centre have been put under threat as Premier Inn prepares to take over the Greenham hotel, the Newbury Weekly News can reveal.

Whitbread, which operates Premier Inn, announced in March that it was taking over the Hilton Newbury Centre Hotel at Pinchington Lane.

The company said it would implement a £10m refurbishment programme, when the 109-room Hilton shuts for good on April 25, before re-opening later this year as a Premier Inn hotel.

The new budget hotel would be the second Premier Inn to come to Newbury, after plans were approved in February for a 100-bed hotel near Parkway, right next door to rival hotel group Travelodge.

Now it has emerged that all of the jobs at the Hilton have been placed under threat with one staff member, who asked not to be named, claiming to have received a redundancy consultation letter already.

The anonymous staff member claimed that she had only been informed by letter last week that her position was under threat and that the letter did not even indicate whether it was from Hilton or Premier Inn.

When asked about the possible redundancies, a spokesperson from Premier Inn told Newbury Weekly News that efforts were ongoing to “re-deploy” staff where possible.

He said: “Further to our acquisition of the Hilton site in Newbury, we are anticipating that the hotel will close at the end of April for refurbishment and re-branding.

“We expect to re-open the hotel in a phased format, which will roll out from October 2016.

“While the hotel is closed, we are aiming to redeploy as many of the 35 staff currently working in Newbury to other Premier Inn sites in the Hampshire and Berkshire area, before it re-opens.

“We are currently in a period of consultation with the staff and we’re working with them to explore as many options as possible to find work for them within our other sites.”

Meanwhile, the sale and transition of the Hilton to a new Premier Inn was confirmed this week.

Announcing the news, head of hotels brokerage at Christie and Co, Jeremy Jones, said he was “delighted” that the sale, which included five other hotels, had drawn to a close.

He said: “The properties were offered on a whole, sub-group or individual sale basis and we were able to leverage our knowledge of the sector and the players within it to run a competitive sale process, culminating in all sites selling on an individual basis.

“All of the buyers have recognised the individual opportunities on offer, which illustrates the shift in focus to single asset sales.”

The other hotels that were named in the sale were at Basingstoke, Bromsgrove, Dunkeld, Newport and Swindon.

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