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Felixstowe: Councillors raise concerns over plans to revamp seafront Marlborough Hotel

PUBLISHED: 14:56 07 January 2014 | UPDATED: 14:56 07 January 2014

The Marlborough Hotel, Felixstowe

The Marlborough Hotel, Felixstowe

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Community leaders are objecting to proposals to redevelop a major seafront hotel – and want the project redesigned.

Felixstowe Town Council says it accepts changes put forward for the resort’s Marlborough Hotel in the light of the current economic circumstances facing the leisure industry, but is deeply concerned about a suggested extension.

Owner Sudeep Singh is asking Suffolk Coastal council for consent to turn the 49-bedroom Marlborough Hotel, on Sea Road, into a 14-bed boutique hotel with a restaurant and shop on the ground floor, with the frontage restored to its former glory.

The rest of the building – along with a new three-storey modern extension to the rear – would be used to create 26 one, two and three-bedroom apartments.
Lost timber balconies and verandahs on the Edwardian building would be reinstated.

Planning officers at Suffolk Coastal are currently analysing the scheme.

The town council said while it accepted redevelopment in principle for mixed uses, particularly retaining resort-orientated uses on the ground floor, the extension proposed on Beach Road West was “unacceptable overdevelopment of the site”. It said there would be inadequate car parking in a busy resort – an issue which was raised by several residents in letters to the district council, saying off-street parking is limited already – and not enough space for bin storage and deliveries.

Town councillors also expressed concern about overshadowing of neighbouring properties and loss of privacy in Beach Road West and Russell Road.

The council said: “The scale, appearance and presentation of the Beach Road West extension will have an unacceptable impact on the street scene in a conservation area contrary to guidance.”

Explaining the redevelopment project, CH Architects said: “Our client has invested heavily in the redevelopment of the Marlborough Hotel over the last five years and has brought the hotel up to a high standard.

“Despite this investment, 
occupancy in the hotel has continued to fall to the point where it is now considered to be financially unviable as a hotel.

“As a consequence our client is looking to redevelop the hotel to meet the demand for quality residential accommodation.”

Other hotels in Felixstowe are also facing similar problems – with low occupancy rates for rooms, most having just 35 to 40% for the year.

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EADT writer David Vincent has more than 40 years experience in Suffolk. He has explored the highways and byeways of East Anglia, meeting homeowners, developers and estate agents from Bury St Edmunds to Aldeburgh and Colchester to Diss.