Couple’s ‘mad rush’ as function suite owners pull plug on venue

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A couple have been left out of pocket six weeks before their wedding day after the owners of the venue where they were due to get hitched, shut down the business.

Kendra McCunnie and fiance Michael Douglas lost their deposit for their May wedding and reception at the Weensland Function Suite, after the owners, understood to be a Tyneside catering group, packed up and left. Mr Douglas, 26, and his father confronted the owners, who were loading vans with equipment and furniture from the building.

Miss McCunnie, 24, a council customer services worker, explained: “The guy had paperwork in his hand but he couldn’t even look at my other half, then he sent him away. We sent my father-in-law down and that’s when they turned round and said we were lucky we’d only lost our deposit, they’d lost everything.

“It got quite heated as they were packing everything up out of the place. I didn’t think it was real at first and I was in shock a bit. But it kind of sunk in eventually and there was a mad rush trying to find somewhere else, but we managed to get the rugby club.”

It is understood the owners have said they will send letters to all parties who had booked functions at the venue.

Meanwhile, the estate agent tasked with selling the property has said it should be locally-owned and could become a children’s nursery or a block of flats in the coming months.

Almost two years after it was made available for £275,000, the Weensland Road venue will have ‘for sale’ signs displayed outside it for the first time and be placed on the market with a lower asking price after its owners vacated the premises.

Now, according to Ken Sims, a director of agents Christie’s, the building may be subject to a change of use once sold and could achieve its full potential under a buyer who understands the local area. “For me, it should be a local buyer, someone who knows the local area,” explained Mr Sims. “The first people we will talk to are those in and around Hawick. Somebody could use it as a nursery, as a function venue or convert it into residential.”

Hawick United FC were also left in the lurch as plans to hold their 50th anniversary dinner at the suite were scuppered. Club officials are seeking an alternative venue for the May 12 event.