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Romney Marsh: Lathe Barn in Burmarsh set to close for second time in a year

By Molly Mileham-Chappell

A popular visitor attraction has announced it will close next month while new owners are sought for the second time in a year.

Lathe Barn on Donkey Street in Burmarsh, which has a children's farm, has confirmed it will have its last working day on Sunday, November 4.

It comes a little over a year since visitors were shocked in summer 2017 when the site's previous owners announced it would close.

Burmarsh Lathe Barn has been taken over by Katy and James Beck Picture: Paul Amos FM4999546 (4565096)
Burmarsh Lathe Barn has been taken over by Katy and James Beck Picture: Paul Amos FM4999546 (4565096)

Husband and wife team Katy and James Beck then took over the venue last autumn and reopened in November 2017.

Mr Beck explained the couple had been operating Lathe Barn for the last year in the hope of buying the site outright in 2019.

But the business had not made enough money in its first year of operation to secure a bank loan for the purchase.

He added that overheads, staffing costs and visitor numbers were contributing factors.

He described the circumstances as "a shame".

Burmarsh Lathe Barn has been taken over by Katy and James Beck,Picture: Paul Amos FM4999561 (4565131)
Burmarsh Lathe Barn has been taken over by Katy and James Beck,Picture: Paul Amos FM4999561 (4565131)

He said: "We had so many plans. It has a mountain of potential.

"If someone came along with a bit of money and was wiling to invest, there's the opportunity to do something special."

The owners, who have previous leisure industry experience and live on the Marsh, noted that despite working hard since last year's takeover, things had not "gone the way we had hoped".

A Facebook post announcing the closure read: "We would like to think lots of happy memories have been made, whilst us as new management have been in place.

"In the meantime, the tea rooms and play farm will be open, so please do pay us a visit, especially if you have a seasonal pass."

Lathe Barn in March 2017. Picture: Gary Browne (4565688)
Lathe Barn in March 2017. Picture: Gary Browne (4565688)

The business expressed their gratitude: "We'd like to thank all of our customers for the support and positivity you've given us. It's been very much appreciated.

"We'd love to see as many of you as possible before we close our doors for a final goodbye."

Their announcement sparked more than 200 comments online.

One mum said: "Lathe Barn was the first proper outing I had when I felt brave enough to venture out alone with my five-year-old and newborn, and made great memories which my son still talks about. So sad."

Another visitor wrote: "My kids had a great time when I visited. Shame as I would go again and again when I'm in Dymchurch area."

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