ONE of East Lancashire’s best-known hotels will close later this year.

The award-winning Stanley House Hotel and Spa in Mellor shuts at the end of September putting 80 staff out of jobs.

News of the closure has dismayed Ribble Valley economic development boss Cllr Stuart Hirst and local ward councillor Noel Walsh.

The hotel and spa complex was bought by Mohsin and Zuber Issa, the Blackburn brothers who founded Euro Garages, as a private investment in September.

The 54 acres of grounds surrounding a Grade II-listed manor house was owned by Nora Walker, the widow of steel magnate Fred Walker who was the brother of Blackburn Rovers benefactor Jack.

The Issa brothers signed a 12-month lease with the hotel management to keep the business, which employs 80 staff, running as normal.

That agreement runs out on September 30 and the Stanley House in its present form will close.

Guests with bookings after that date have already been contacted.

Wendy Hope, Stanley House’s sales and marketing manager, said: “The lease signed last year runs out on September 30. On that date the hotel and spa will close.”

The hotel consists of a three-storey 12-room manor house built in 1640. It has two modern buildings, one containing the hotel’s two restaurants and function suites, the other, The Woodlands, housing 18 rooms and the award-winning spa.

Cllr Hirst said: “I am disappointed that the Ribble Valley will be losing such a prestige hospitality facility.

“I am also concerned for the staff jobs that will be lost and the personal difficulties this will cause. Fortunately the borough has a thriving hotel and hospitality sector and I would hope that our other nationally acclaimed businesses in the area will be able to absorb some of the displaced jobs.”

Mellor Conservative Cllr Walsh said: “I am concerned that this has happened. It is not something I wanted to hear.

“I shall make it my number one priority to find out what is happening with Stanley House.

“I shall be contacting the Issa brothers to find out about the hotel and spa’s future.”

The Issa brothers declined to comment about their future plans for the hotel and spa.

Last year Stanley House, which had recently renovated its bridal suites, was named ‘Best Wedding Venue - hotel and spa’ at the Great Northern Wedding Awards.

Once a rundown farmstead, the Stanley House site was acquired by Leehand Leisure in the early 2000s and reopen up as a country hotel in 2004 after an extensive refit.

Mr Walker remained as company secretary for Leehand, until his death in March 2012, and the bar and lounge there is named Mr Fred’s in his honour.

The Issa brothers are partners in a hotel firm, Monte Hospitality, which operates out of Euro House their group headquarters at Guide.

Monte is the franchise partner for the new Hampton by Hilton Blackburn, currently under construction at Whitebirk