Exmoor hotel being investigated after holding group sex and swingers parties

Laura FitzPatrick
Croydon Hall is amid a row between neighbours who have complained of people

A local authority is investigating a hotel after it was accused of breaking planning laws by holding group sex and swingers parties.

Croydon Hall, a hotel located in the Somerset village of Rodhuish - which has a population of just 293 people - is amid a row between neighbours who have complained of people "spilling out into the gardens and pool'' at night, and say the noise is ruining the quality of life.

But its owner 59-year-old Allen McCloud, who lives on the site in Exmoor National Park, said he is being “bullied” and that his “well-to-do clientele” are respectful of neighbours.

The row came to light after Mr McCloud applied to extend the alcohol licence for his private club based at Croydon Hall called ‘Exclusively Silks’ - a members-only group for "intimate parties for classy, sophisticated couples and single ladies”.

Mr McCloud, a former BP mechanic on Scottish oil rigs, started his club after escaping the 2013 Algeria hostage crisis, during which he lost 40 of his friends.

Mr McCloud decided to establish Exclusively Silks at his hotel after escaping the 2013 Algeria hostage crisis Credit: Allen McCloud

Wanting to change his life, the 59-year-old visited Holland and saw British couples boarding flights there just to attend swinging parties organised by his friends.

On his return, Mr McCloud decided to establish Exclusively Silks at his hotel in January this year, after discovering "millions of swingers in the UK" who, he said, “have nowhere to go but to each other’s houses”

The mechanic has since thrown five parties, which he said were attended by a mixture of couples, from doctors to barristers, and he claimed that he is constantly approached by people enquiring about his services.

“We started with 20 couples and there were about 70 at the latest party, they even come down from Scotland,” Mr McCloud told The Telegraph.

He said: “Our clientele are quite well-to-do. We have got some barristers and doctors who have nice sports cars outside, they are not going to drive those home after drinking.”

But when he applied to change Croydon Hall’s alcohol licence until 4am, the mechanic was met with criticism and “bully-boy tactics” from neighbouring properties.

Vivien Irwin said the licence would lead to "drunken drivers, after eight hours of alcohol, driving through country lanes, villages and [along the] A39".

Mr McCloud said Croydon Hall is a sound-proofed venue Credit: Allen McCloud

David and Anne Pitts said: "We know from bitter experience with the previous owner that DJ music, with thumping bass, permeates every corner of our houses, making sleep impossible.

"People inevitably spill out into the gardens, the pool and the car park, with increasingly drunken exchanges - shouting, singing, even fights. To extend that suffering is utterly unacceptable."

Susan Brierley added: "Up to 80 cars could arrive late in the evening and leave in the early hours of the morning, at a time when neighbours are trying to sleep.

"There is space for about 25 cars in front of the hall, with additional parking at the side. There is not space for 80 cars, so additional parking would be in the lane by our houses."

The Exmoor site is now being investigated by Somerset West and Taunton Council for a possible planning permission breach by offering the sex parties.

The row began when Mr McCloud applied to change Croydon Hall’s alcohol licence until 4am Credit: Allen McCloud

A report to council's licensing sub-committee says: "The hotel is marketed as hosting group sex/ swingers parties for the 'Exclusively Silks' group, which are usually advertised as taking place into the early hours of the morning."

The sub-committee will meet to discuss the licensing proposal at West Somerset House in Williton on Monday April 29.

“We are not breaking the law, consenting adults can do what they want,” Mr McCloud added. “We have soundproofed the building and there has never been a complaint since we have been here.”

The Exmoor National Park Authority has not commented on the licence application.