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Michelin-starred Northcote has been sold – so what happens next?

Britannia Hospitality (not that Britannia) has acquired the luxury Lancashire hotel restaurant

NORTHCOTE in Lancashire’s Ribble Valley has just been sold to Britannia Hospitality Limited (not that Britannia), owners of the Stafford hotel in London, for £77.5m.

Chef Nigel Haworth joined the hotel as head chef in 1984, one year after Craig Bancroft arrived as general manager. Both went on to oversee the property as joint managing directors, acquiring a stake in the business in 1986. They bought the hotel outright three years later.

We’re all staying and we’re very much looking forward to working alongside the Stafford management team and developing Northcote further

The luxury 26-bedroom hotel’s restaurant was awarded a Michelin star in 1996 thanks to chef-patron Haworth’s interpretations of traditional regional dishes and excellent use of local ingredients.

The restaurant has retained its Michelin star for twenty two years, more recently with executive chef Lisa Goodwin-Allen at the helm.

At the end of 2017, Haworth announced he would remain as a shareholder but step down from the daily running of the business. He continues to work with Northcote as an ambassador and oversees its annual Obsession festival.

Bancroft remained as managing director of the hotel and has confirmed that he is to retain this position under the new owners, along with general manager Craig Jackson and Goodwin-Allen overseeing the kitchens and cookery school.

Bancroft told industry magazine The Caterer: “We want to make sure that everyone understands we’re all staying and we’re very much looking forward to working alongside the Stafford management team and developing Northcote further and that was the whole point of the deal.

“We’ll let everyone know once everyone’s decided strategically where we’re going forward because there’s no point in doing that until we’ve discussed it with the teams involved.

“It was the right partner in terms of the synergy between a really iconic London property to be paired up with a country house hotel that has got such a fabulous backstory.

“A hotel like the Stafford to take on a Northcote is quite an amazing story.”

Northcote in Langho is a four-red-AA-star hotel and a member of Pride of Britain and Relais & Chateaux. It was named the AA Hotel of the Year for England 2016-17.

It also placed in 21st place on Confidential’s guide to the Top 100 restaurants in the North West – read more here.

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