North Norfolk hotel sold by football club chairman
PUBLISHED: 14:53 31 July 2019 | UPDATED: 15:37 31 July 2019
Archant Norfolk 2014
A football club chairman has sold an iconic north Norfolk hotel to a mystery buyer.
Stephen Cleeve drastrically reduced the opening hours at the George in Cley earlier this year.
He had shut the hotel's restaurant and accommodation just after last Christmas last year due to a lack of trade.
The hotel was put on the market last summer for £895,000. It is unknown how much it sold for and who bought it.
Mr Cleeve announced in 2018 that he wanted to sell the hotel to focus his time and money on King's Lynn Town. The club are currently members of the National League North and play at the Walks.
Mr Cleeve, who bought the George in 2013, announced the sale of the hotel on Twitter.
He said: "A day of mixed feelings for me but I can no longer call myself a hotelier. I hope the new owners take the place to the next level."
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Mr Cleeve has not reponded to requests from the EDP for a comment today, but he said previously that he had tried his "hardest" to make it a success.
But he had added that "there's absolutely no point in it sitting there if it's not making any money.
"Someone in the government should sort out the business rates system - it's stupid. It should be called property tax. I was paying £1,200 a month 18 months ago and now it's £2,200."
The Geoge did reopen over Easter as they had bookings for the holidays, but it has been shut during quieter periods.
Mr Cleeve said escalating rates were forcing many firms out of business. He said: "It's a shame because the George is a nice building and a nice place."
He said the glut of second homes in Cley had also taken its toll.
"I'm not going to run it any more as a charity. The bar does okay and everyone loves coming there but the staffing rates and the business rates have increased too much," he added.
The 18th century building is just a short walk from the village's iconic windmill.