A property developer has refuted claims he was responsible for the closure of Glynn Purnell’s second restaurant, The Asquith.
Purnell’s former landlord, Tony Gayden, whose hotel/motel business Totel (UK) Ltd has collapsed with massive debts, told the Birmingham Post: “I am being made to look like the villain.”
Purnell shut his Edgbaston restaurant on April 3, about six months after opening, citing ongoing business difficulties with Mr Gayden.
The Michelin star chef said The Asquith’s trading position became intolerable after the restaurant’s water supply was lost for a fortnight in a dispute over unpaid bills for which he was not liable.
Purnell said he lost business at one of the busiest times of the year during the run-up to Christmas.
Mr Gayden suggested he was taken by surprise when he learned Purnell had closed the restaurant in Montague Road.
He said the water supply was initially cut by Severn Trent because the supply feeding a nearby property development, Montague Mews, with which he was involved, was “not compliant.”
Mr Gayden said the problem, relating to a valve, was resolved but the supply remained suspended because backdated bills amounting to several thousands of pounds, preceding Purnell’s tenancy, had not been settled.
Mr Gayden said he arranged for the bill to be paid and the supply was restored.
Mr Gayden said: “I only tried to help Glynn, not injure him.”
Mr Gayden, aged 64, said he had lost a large amount of money, adding: “I didn’t want to harm anyone. I have only done Glynn favours.”
Totel, of which Mr Gayden is the sole director, is in compulsory liquidation. Creditors include the National Westminster Bank and a Wolverhampton welding company. According to accounts filed with Companies House, Totel had bank loans of more than £1.5 million secured against the Portland Road assets.
Totel ran a block of 10 serviced apartments at Asquith House, which adjoins the site of the former restaurant.
The petition to wind up the business, based at 19 Portland Road, was made before Mr Gayden approached Purnell to take over the site of the former Pascal’s restaurant last summer.
Purnell hopes to re-open The Asquith at a city centre location near his flagship restaurant Purnell’s.
Purnell said he had settled all his utility bills relating to The Asquith property.
He said: “I have done everything by the book because that is the only way I have ever operated.”