WHAT was one of Wales’ best-known restaurants could become a day hospice providing care for people facing the end of their lives. 

The Hardwick, near Abergavenny, closed suddenly in October last year – just months after the office administrator in charge of its finances was sentenced alongside her husband, a casual chef at the restaurant, for a fraud that cost the business £150,000. 

Owner Stephen Terry, who has appeared on BBC show Great British Menu and was Gordon Ramsay’s best man, put the business, including a three-bedroom adjoining owner’s accommodation, up for sale for a reported £825,000, in February

A planning application has now been submitted that shows Newport-based St David’s Hospice Care, intends buying the building to use as a day hospice as well as operate a cafe to cater for its visitors and families. 

The existing self-catering holiday accommodation on the the first floor of the building, described as a coaching inn of traditional design and construction, would be retained and continue to operate.

Before the pub, on the B4598 Abergavenny to Raglan road, was bought by Mr Terry it was known as the Horse and Jockey. 

Over 18 years under his guidance it became recognised as one of Wales’ best restaurants. It won multiple awards, including a Bib Gourmand in the Michelin Guide, being named the best restaurant in Wales in consecutive years, and named the 19th best gastropub in the coveted Estrella Damm 50 Best Gastropubs list in 2020. 

But Mr Terry revealed the business had struggled financially after former financial administrator Nicola Nightingale had swindled thousands from it. 

She had pleaded guilty to fraud while her husband, Simon Nightingale, had denied possessing criminal property, the cash transferred to him by his wife, but was found guilty after a four-day trial in 2023. 

Both were handed suspended prison sentences a decision that was slammed by Mr Terry who said at the time.

He said: “For them to result in getting a suspended sentence is a travesty. 

“What kind of message does that sent out? It’s a joke, an absolute joke. 

“This should be a lesson for all people not to trust, do your research, get references and be aware of how your business is being run. We trusted her and unfortunately, she didn’t fulfil her job title.” 

Barry And District News: A general view of The Hardwick, near Abergavenny.A general view of The Hardwick, near Abergavenny. (Image: Google Street View)

St David’s Hospice Care has applied for change of use planning permission covering what was the restaurant, so it can be used as a hospice day centre, which is a non-residential institution and the kitchen will be shared between it and the cafe it plans to open. 

Nine jobs will be created with six working in the day centre and three in the cafe which, according to the application, will “be community-focused and aimed to be used by local residents who will drop off the relatives in need of the day care service”. 

No change of use is required for the self-catering accommodation, as permission is already in place, and the building would operate during normal business hours Monday to Friday from 9am to 4pm. Air BnB would be open for key collection during the day time hours. 

The application is being considered by Monmouthshire County Council planners.