Mystery after NV restaurant in Southampton shuts suddenly

Mystery closure ruins wedding plans

NV restaurant in Southampton

Joanna Willis and fiance Dave Twine

First published in News Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Senior Features Writer

A BRIDE and groom’s wedding plans are in tatters after the venue they booked for their reception suddenly closed.

Mystery surrounds what has happened to the previous owner of Southampton’s NV restaurant, who is alleged to have failed to pay the rent at the landmark building.

The property has been closed and repossessed by the landlord, who has sold the leasehold to two businessmen who plan to turn it into a private members’ club.

Joanna Willis and fiance Dave Twine, who paid nearly £3,000 as a deposit for their big day at the restaurant, are among up to 100 customers who have booked dinners and special celebrations there.

They say that they handed over the money to previous owner, businesswoman Jean Leake, as a deposit for their wedding breakfast, evening party, flowers and cake – paying the latest instalment just last week.

Have you been affected? Contact Tara Russell on (023) 8042 4495 or send an email.

But since then the doors to the imposing venue have been shut and inside the tables and chairs have been stacked.

Landlord Peter Harding has put a notice on the doors claiming that the tenants had not paid the rent.

It revealed that he was taking back possession of the 1838 grade II listed building and unless an application is made in 14 days, all items left inside will be sold or thrown out.

There are rumours that Ms Leake had left the restaurant in the hands of staff and had gone a couple of months ago.

Now the two new owners have taken over the restaurant and told the Daily Echo that they will open an exclusive members-only restaurant and club, NUNV, later this month.

The two men, who have asked not to be identified, say they were stunned to find more than 90 messages on the answer machine from people concerned after booking weddings, milestone birthdays and special events.

• All the details are only inside today's edition of the Daily Echo.

But the businessmen say that they had no idea about the bookings because the diary was taken and they do not know where the former tenant is.

Today an emergency meeting will take place in which the new owners, landlord and solicitors will discuss the fate of the bookings.

Joanna, a social worker assistant for the youth offending team, is due to marry on November 11 and has invited 100 guests to her celebrations.

The 25-year-old, from West End, is devastated after being told by the new owners that it will be impossible to put on the wedding for the remaining £1,800 she has to spend.

She said: “I am still in shock. It all seemed so perfect.

The wedding package was £4,500 and it included everything – a sit-down three-course meal for 100 people, flowers, cake, table decorations, evening buffet.

“We paid £1,000 to Jean in January and paid another £1,700 last Tuesday to an assistant manager. Now they have disappeared in a puff. I was in absolute floods of tears.”

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