St Leonards seafront venue closes after 16 years

A St Leonards seafront venue has closed, it has been announced.

Azur, which incorporates Teddy's Cocktail Bar and Grill, was a popular choice for wedding celebrations, birthday parties and anniversaries.

For the last year a question mark hung over the venue’s future due to a ‘long-running dispute’ between the company which managed it, Azur Events Limited, and the leasehold owner Sea Change Sussex.

According to Sea Change, Azur failed to keep up with rent payments under the lease.

Sea Change then brought forward a winding-up order early last year, saying its decision at the time was a ‘last resort action’ and ‘not a decision it had taken lightly’.

The move left the venue’s future in doubt, with David Thorpe-Tracey, director of Azur, saying more than 45 functions had already been booked there for 2023/24.

He said since it opened in 2008, Azur had been a hub for the community, supporting businesses, community groups and charities, and providing award-winning customer service to thousands of residents and visitors from outside the area.

Sea Change Sussex said it had tried to work hard with the firm both pre- and post-Covid, allowing additional time for payments and granting rent reductions during the lease’s assignment from predecessor Azur Marina Ltd during that company’s liquidation in 2016.

A hearing was then set at the High Court in London for March 1 last year to discuss insolvency proceedings but the hearing was adjourned to a later date.

This week Sea Change Sussex announced that an out-of-court settlement had been reached.

A statement from both parties said: “Following a long-running dispute between Sea Change Sussex and Azur Events Ltd, the two companies have now agreed an out-of-court settlement.

“As part of the agreement, Azur has stopped operating the Marina Pavilion from January 29, 2024. This date was agreed to cause minimum disruption to bookings at the venue and to allow Azur to provide notice to the venue’s other occupiers.

“Now it’s back in possession of the building, Sea Change Sussex will commission surveys to assess the condition of the property and identify any works necessary.

“The company will then put the venue on the market to seek a suitable operator so it can be re-opened for the local community as soon as possible.”

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