Devon hotel owners lean on £50k bounce back loan to renovate 16th century property

Geoff and Tessa Sellick

Furzeleigh Mill, a 16th century former mill turned hotel, in Buckfast, has opened its doors to guests again after undergoing a full refurbishment, with the support of a £50k bounce back loan scheme from Natwest.

The hotel’s owners, Tessa and Geoff Sellick, started renovating Furzeleigh Mill in February this year with the aim of finishing the work the following winter using income generated over the peak summer months, before the coronavirus lockdown struck.

Furzeleigh Mill then secured £50k from the government’s bounce back loan scheme (BBLS) through NatWest, using the facility to revamp the hotel, including modernising the restaurant, bar and its 10 bedrooms.

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Part of the BBLS funding was also invested in hospital grade sanitisation machines and stations, as well as other measures to make the establishment COVID-19 safe.

The husband and wife duo, who also own an architecture and design practice, reopened Furzeleigh Mill on July 4.  

Tessa Sellick said: “We bought Furzeleigh Mill with the aim of it being a long-term business for us, so even though the hotel is currently trading at around 35 per cent of what it was during the same period last year, we’re hopeful we’ll get through this difficult period.

“Doing the renovation work ourselves in the middle of a pandemic was challenging but we now have a business that we’re really proud of and one that reflects our personalities. Bedroom bookings have started to pick up and we’re hopeful that we’ll see demand increase further as more people look to holiday in the UK this year.”

Tags : Devonexpansionhotelsrefurbishment
Zoe Monk

The author Zoe Monk

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