Bury St Edmunds: Objections raised over Travelodge plans

A CALL is being made to a planning authority to protect a “significant area” of Bury St Edmunds by refusing a proposal for a hotel at former county council offices.

A St Edmundsbury Borough Council committee will decide on Thursday whether plans for a hotel at part of New Shire Hall in Raingate Street, which is in a conservation area, will go ahead.

The current owners of the site, M & D Developments, have submitted the application and budget hotel firm Travelodge has prepared a scheme for the building which proposes 80 suites.

A number of concerns have been raised about the proposed development, which is recommended for approval by planning officers, including the impact on the conservation area, increased traffic, disturbance to residents and the negative effect on existing hotels.

While the economic development officer for the area has said there is currently a shortfall of visitor accommodation in the town, some residents feel a more appropriate location would be an out-of-town site near the A14 or by the train station.

In a letter of objection to the plans, Katherine Elliot, a Southgate Street resident and historic building decorator and conservator, asked St Edmundsbury Borough Council to take heed of a statement on its website about the rich architectural history of the borough “and attempt to protect such a significant area within the town”.

New Shire Hall is in the town centre near to the historic Abbey Gardens and St Edmundsbury Cathedral.

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Nick and Paula Storey, of St Mary’s Square, said in their objection letter: “In summary, and recognising that this is indeed supposed to be a conservation area, we object to the increased traffic that will follow a development of this sort, the increased disturbance due to the nature of this particular type of hotel and the effect on existing hoteliers in the area including the buildings they occupy.”

Bury St Edmunds Town Council objected on the grounds of an adverse impact on highway safety. But the officer’s report said the highway authority had not objected to the proposed development, saying the hotel would generate less vehicle movements in peak hours than previous offices. There has also been no objection by the conservation officer.

M & D Developments acquired the New Shire Hall site in 2010. New Shire Hall is the central building of the complex, which is undergoing development. A planning application by the firm has already been approved for a new wing at the site for residential apartments.

It is proposed that the south-east corner of New Shire Hall is retained for office use.

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