By Harry Mottram: In the last few weeks there have been a number of comments online on various social media platforms about problems booking rooms and events such as weddings at the Oakhouse Hotel in Axbridge.

Residents know it has not been open on a regular basis for some weeks although there have been occasional wedding receptions. Various rumours have circulated about it being in administration, being up for sale along with a plan to mothball it until trade picks up.

Readers may recognise this pervious owner Charles Donovan of the restaurant – back in the day when he ran it with Nick Barrington – info from Susan Forsdyke-Bishop

The hotel is not up for sale as the owner Steve Jenkins has made plain on the Axbridge Community FaceBook site. He wrote: “Hi all, I own the building and confirm there are no plans to sell the Oakhouse. However, the current tenants have clearly decided to close the business, from what I can tell, indefinitely. I am working on resolving the situation asap and am hopeful the hotel and bar will re-open in Spring. I suggest anyone with a booking reach out to the email addresses and any mobile numbers they currently have for the existing tenants. Unfortunately, I cannot help with this, as I have no legal authority to influence any business decisions in relation to the hotel company nor share its data. This is the responsibility of the tenants and directors. I assure you I feel as passionately about the the Oakhouse as anyone does and will update you further in due course.”

The hotel in the 1970s

A look on the Government’s Companies House website that lists all limited companies and gives details shows that at the moment it is not in administration – information that is in the public domain.

There have been a number of officers and owners of the hotel over the years but at present they are Luke and Melanie Sturman who it is understood hold a lease. Luke’s correspondence address is in Wareham in Dorset and Melanie’s is at the Oakhouse. A confirmation statement was made on 3rd January this year while Melanie made a change of details to Companies House last summer with an indication she was ‘a person of significant control’.

The Oakhouse even served petrol at one stage in the early 20th century

The Grade II listed building and hotel has had a number of transformations over the years – originally constructed as two houses and in the early 20th century it was for a time a petrol station. It dates back to (according to most sources) to the 11th century – but only in parts such as a fireplace and the well – one of the hotel’s most interesting features. However, the property was rebuilt and much of the building dates from the 17th and 18th centuries with later modernisations.

To echo Steve Jenkins’ comments – we all hope the hotel and restaurant will reopen soon as it is one of the town’s finest buildings set in a wonderful location and part of Axbridge’s business community.

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