‘There is no lack of respect here’ – Banyers boss apologises after contractors continue Royston building work during Remembrance Sunday service

Oakman Inns boss Peter Borg-Neal apologised to Rev Heidi Huntley after contractors working on the Ba

Oakman Inns boss Peter Borg-Neal apologised to Rev Heidi Huntley after contractors working on the Banyers failed to stop work during the two-minute silence. - Credit: Archant

The boss of the firm behind the much-anticipated return of a Royston restaurant and hotel has apologised after builders carried on working at the site during the service on Remembrance Sunday, sparking outrage among members of the public.

Noisy building work was heard from Banyers House, which is being refurbished ahead of its December launch, throughout the service led by Rev Heidi Huntley, which Peter Borg-Neal of Oakman Inns & Restaurants apologised for the following day.

Royston’s Lynsey Langdon was appalled by the incident. She said: “I was disgusted by the noise.

“No excuse, it’s just a stupid lack of respect.”

Jane Mottram said: “Personally I think that it’s not a big ask to stop for half an hour.

“Even if people don’t know the history of the ceremony then watching other people paying their respects should encourage people to do the right thing.”

However Andrew Newman said that it should have been for the service organisers to consider the noise.

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“They should have considered that there is ongoing building work at Banyers, and approached Oakman in advance so they could make a management decision to stop working for the duration, rather than just expecting them to stop with no warning,” he said.

A spokeswoman for Oakman Inns told the Crow: “The attention of Peter Borg-Neal was drawn to the fact that the building contractors working on the refurbishment of Banyers House had continued working during the Remembrance service on Sunday causing distraction and distress to those attending.

“Neither Peter nor his development team were aware the contractors would be working on Sunday, and he was very angry to hear what had happened.

“Accordingly, he drove to Royston on Monday morning and visited the parish church of St John the Baptist where he apologised in person to Rev Heidi Huntley.

“Peter has also been in touch with the chairman of the Royal British Legion’s branch in Royston both by telephone and email, firstly to apologise and also to offer to make a donation to their Poppy Appeal as a sign of goodwill.”

Peter said: “I am the son of a retired RAF officer and my brother is an army reservist based in Hereford so you can be assured that there is no lack of respect for Remembrance Sunday in my family.

“Oakman Inns has also, over the years, made donations to several armed forces related charities including the Army Benevolent Fund, Tickets for Troops, the Royal British Legion and the Special Air Service Association.

“I was at a service on Sunday which is why my telephone rang unanswered when a member of the public tried to alert me to events in Royston.”

A spokesperson for the Royal British Legion said: “The two-minute silence is a rare moment when the nation can stand together and reflect upon the human cost of conflict.

“We want people of all ages to understand the importance of remembering those from the British armed forces who have made sacrifices defending the freedoms we enjoy.

“We understand that people lead busy lives and may decide not to or are unable to observe the silence but we do ask that those who pause to remember are respected.”