Hatts Travel closure: Sadness of boss as 89 jobs and 1,000 holidays lost
Hatts Travel boss Adrian Hillier has blamed a clampdown by banks on overdrafts for the failure of his coach business.
He had to tell 89 staff last Friday that all of their jobs were lost and the business had been put in to the hands of administrators after failing to get further funding.
The collapse of the firm, based at Foxham, near Calne, means up to 1,000 people have lost their holidays. It also held dozens of council contracts.
Mr Hillier said yesterday: “It was a very emotional time. It was a terrible thing to have to tell people. I had lots of sleepless nights in the run-up to it.”
But he said he had done his best not to leave customers in the lurch and had gone beyond the normal procedures of a company that was closing.
Mr Hillier, whose great grandfather founded the business in the 1920s, said: “I made sure that people who had booked us for private hire over the weekend still had transport. We didn’t have to do that but we thought it was right.
“I can’t say for definite if all of our clients who have booked and paid for holidays will get their money back as that is now out of my hands.
“It has to go through the receivers so I can’t make promises but they have to realise that it can take time to happen.
“This is the last thing I wanted to happen and I did everything I could to try and make sure it didn’t. As far as I am concerned the only people to blame for this are the banks.”
He said that banks had collateral in the form of property for extra money he wanted to borrow but they turned him down.
“We are a family business with a lot of history. This is not what we wanted to happen but we have tried to cope with it as best as we can. It is completely untrue for anyone to say we have left people stranded.
“It was very difficult telling people they wouldn’t have a job any more. Some of them have worked for us for a long time,” he said.
“We are all very upset. I don’t know what the future will hold for me. I don’t know if I will lose my house.”
The administrators are still operating the Connect2Wiltshire bus services in the Pewsey Vale and the park and ride service in Salisbury using Hatts vehicles and drivers, with financial support from Wiltshire Council until August 31.
These and the other bus services will be re-tendered.
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