By Harry Mottram: The Oakhouse Hotel has been in the news for all the wrong reasons lately after the dramatic exit of the previous management team of Luke and Melanie Sturman. They left a trail of debts and lost deposits for wedding reception bookings when they folded the company The Oakhouse Hotel Limited, following a string of complaints from couples who had booked the hotel for weddings and frustrated locals who enjoyed a drink or a meal there but found the place locked up for weeks.

The news that local couple Marina Czyzew and David Rogers are to re-establish the business with an accent on serving locals has been warmly greeted by residents. Writing on the Axbridge Community FaceBook site the owner of The Almshouse Tea Shop Nicky Frewin summed it up for many: “Wishing you both the very best of luck for this exciting chapter ahead.” Running any hospitality business is an uncertain science due to the vagaries of the economy and the shifting tastes of the public – especially in the current Cost of Living Crisis. However, since the closure of The Crown Inn during Covid and the end of The Roxy Cinema as a social spot the town has been short of a second place to enjoy a drink – other than The Lamb Inn.

Writing on the Axbridge Community FaceBook the couple’s publicist reported: “Over the last week, The Oakhouse has been the topic of dinner conversations. What’s happening!? Who’s taking over? Well…we can now share that Marina and David are returning as the new owners of The Oakhouse! This power team has been looking after Axbridge for the last 4 years, including keeping us hydrated throughout the hot summers and warm by the open fire in the winters, working for the previous owners.

“This exciting new venture for Marina and Dave means big things for Axbridge. There will be a few changes to The Oakhouse over the coming weeks, with many exciting plans in store for the Spring. Please keep an eye on our Facebook page so you can stay informed and have your say in what you’d like from The Oakhouse when it reopens. See you soon! The Oakhouse: A new leaf, a new experience.”

The couple said that anyone who had made a booking with the previous owners of the hotel’s lease should ‘get in touch with the original source of your booking.’

Although the previous owners liquidated the business they can be contacted by post or in person at their address in Dorset – available from Companies House.

Marina Czyzew and David Rogers are well known in the town – having shown a practicality as painters and decorators as well as making good repairs to various properties in Axbridge. And Marina is a familiar face in the hospitality industry having worked at the hotel and also at Ripley’s in the past.

With the hotel and restaurant closed for some time the rumours had increased that something was amiss, and I had received several enquiries from concerned couples who had heard nothing from the hotel about their £500 wedding bookings. Those rumours proved to be true as workers carried out the furniture in an undignified end to the business on St Valentine’s Day with the BBC and ITV News both running stories of the hapless couples left high and dry. That nightmare is now over and hopefully within a few weeks the dynamic duo of Marina and David will return the Oakhouse to its rightful and popular place in the centre of the town as the place to go.

For more news on the hotel visit their FaceBook site at

The website for the Oakhouse is currently down but if you are new to the town then the Trip Advisor and similar sites give an idea of what was on offer in the past.

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Axbridge News is edited by Harry Mottram and is published for the interest of himself and fellow residents.

Harry is a freelance journalist. Follow him on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube etc