Approved town centre hotel will help meet need for tourist rooms
- Credit: Google Maps
A new hotel that has been granted permission for Bury St Edmunds town centre has been described as an "asset" that will benefit tourists and businesses.
The 30-bedroom hotel at 36 Buttermarket would restore this use to the Grade II-listed building, that was home to the Suffolk Hotel more than 20 years ago.
The plans, by developers Gatsby Retail Limited, are to keep the retail units on the ground floor, one of which is occupied by Waterstone's and the other is the vacant Edinburgh Woollen Mill premises.
The addition of a hotel to the town centre has been welcomed by tourism and business leaders, following the approval of the planning application by West Suffolk Council last month.
Sue Warren, brand and marketing manager for Bury St Edmunds and Beyond, the town’s tourism brand, said: “We are delighted that we will have another hotel in Bury St Edmunds town centre to cater for the many visitors that come to the town each year.
"It is fantastic to see the building that was the former Suffolk Hotel given the go ahead to become a hotel once again!”
She said many of their hotels were at 95-98% occupancy in the town centre and on the outskirts of Bury St Edmunds this summer.
"There is a need for more accommodation in Bury St Edmunds as we grow our profile as a visitor destination," she added.
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Mark Cordell, chief executive of the town's Business Improvement District (BID) group Our Bury St Edmunds, said the new hotel would be a "great asset" for the town centre, which continues to evolve.
He added: "And the opening of a hotel in the town centre brings benefits to businesses in the vicinity."
The planning statement submitted to West Suffolk Council says that despite Waterstone's taking up some of the site, the majority of it is currently vacant.
The development would see the creation of a new entrance off High Baxter Street, the building of an atrium on the first floor and other alterations to turn the site back into a hotel.
The Bury Society has also supported the plans, which its chairman Martyn Taylor said would bring a "new lease of life to the building" after the Suffolk Hotel closed in 1996.
According to the heritage statement submitted as part of the plans, the front of the building dates back to the late-15th century and was part of an inn called 'Le Greyhounde'.
The building was extensively remodelled in the 1830s and was renamed the Suffolk Hotel. It was known by this name until the hotel closed.
The planning statement said: "The proposal will return the former hotel
to its original use, providing new employment opportunities and supplementing the tourist economy, with minimal intervention on the historic fabric."
While there are no plans for parking at the site, the planning statement mentions the creation of a free shuttle service for guests who arrive by car.
The developers say they will encourage "more sustainable means of transportation" by providing cycle parking.