The closure of Hatts Travel means the loss of 89 jobs and 1,000 members of public who have made bookings will be affected.

Based at Foxham, near Chippenham, the family firm has appointed restructuring specialists FRP Advisory as administrators.

FRP Advisory has said in a statement: “The joint administrators are not aware of HQT [Hatts Travel] being a member of ABTA or equivalent travel agent association, nor of the existence of any travel security bond.”

However, Andrew Sheridan, partner at FRP Advisory and joint administrator, said: "It is deeply regrettable and sad for all 
concerned that the majority of Hatts operations should have
to stop trading.

"The businesses simply ran out of cash.

"We are acutely aware of the distress and hardship many holidaymakers and day trippers will be suffering right now particularly as so many of these are of an 'older generation'.

"Our priority right now is to contact and provide dedicated helpline support for those members of the general public who have paid for holidays, day trips and other private hire with Hatts.

"We will ensure that they are advised of their statutory rights under the Consumer Credit Act where, in the first instance, if they have paid by credit or debit card they should make contact with their card providers.”

A helpline has been set up for members of the public affected: 0800 4704633

Hatts has offices and depots in Foxham, near Chippenham, Worton, near Devizes, and Salisbury.

Wiltshire Council confirmed that a park and ride bus service Hatts operates in Salisbury will continue to operate, safeguarding 32 jobs.

Hatts provided coach services for Bath Rugby which are being rearranged, and for Dauntsey’s private school at West Lavington.

Wiltshire Council said schools should not be affected as there will be new coach operators in place by the end of the school holidays.

A council spokeman said: “Following the notification from Hatts Travel Group – which includes Bodman Coaches, Hatts Coaches and Wiltshire Buses – that the company had ceased trading, we have been working hard to minimise the impact on users.

“The company operated buses in several parts of Wiltshire, including the Salisbury park and ride, and we have been able to cover all of these services using alternative operators.

“We recognise there may be some initial disruption to services and we would like to apologise for the inconvenience this may cause.

"We would like to reassure users that we are doing everything we can to provide services and to minimise the impact.”

The spokesman said that bus services that have new providers are being run on an interim basis at least for the next month and then Wiltshire Council will have to retender for the services.

Councillor Richard Gamble, Wiltshire councillor for the Lavingtons and Erlestoke, said: "Contingency arrangements are in place with regard to council-contracted services but I am not sure how private travel bookings will fare.

"Obviously, I am concerned about the staff who are affected and I hope they will all find suitable positions with successor companies in due course."

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