POLICE were called to a five-star hotel after reports of staff refusing to leave their accommodation.
Two patrol cars attended Seaham Hall to assist with a “civil matter”.
The incident yesterday afternoon was related to workers being asked to leave on-site accommodation earmarked for redevelopment.
“You could see all the occupants with their belongings outside,” said one onlooker. “They looked very upset.”
Earlier this month, the Echo reported that Seasons Holidays had acquired the luxury Seaham Hall Hotel and Serenity Spa in a deal worth hundreds of thousands of pounds.
Barry Donaghey, managing director at the hotel, said: “We had no alternative but to close the building due to health and safety issues. The staff accommodation was deemed not fit for purpose and it didn’t offer a suitable standard of living.
“We cannot comment on individual cases. However, we can confirm there were two individuals who were unwilling to leave the property, despite our efforts to make the transition as easy as possible for them.
“This issue has now been resolved.”
The Bristol-based firm, which is seen as a “leader in luxury holiday resort homes”, owns seven country house hotels in the UK, and three in Spain, Portugal and the Canaries.
Bosses said an initial investment of more than £500,000 will be made to update the hotel and spa and ensure it continues to be a leading venue in the region.
The purchase was also said to safeguards about 120 jobs.
The hotel and spa was sold by Christie + Co on behalf of the administrators of von Essen Hotels 2 Ltd.
“As is the nature of new acquisitions, changes need to be made,” said Mr Donaghey. “However, at this stage of our review, there are no planned redundancies.”
A spokesman for Durham Constabulary said: “We can confirm that we were called to assist in a civil matter at Seaham Hall. The matter was resolved without the need for police intervention.”