Southwold: Major step forward for pier hotel project
THE acquisition of Southwold Pier by Gough Hotels represents a major step forward for the project to redevelop the current pier pavilion which dates from 1937.
Current owners Stephen and Antonia Bournes obtained planning permission in 2010 to replace the pavilion with a luxury Art Deco-style hotel, and Gough Hotels has highly relevant experience in creating a hotel from scratch.
The business is headed by Robert Gough who worked with a major operator in the hotel industry for three years in the late 1980s before returning to the family firm to take over as managing director in 1990.
Having owned the historic Angel Hotel in Bury St Edmunds since 1973, the family business has undergone substantial expansion over the past decade, beginning with the opening of the Salthouse Harbour Hotel on the Ipswich Waterfront in 2003.
The Salthouse was initially created as a 43-bedroom operation by converting a Victorian warehouse but in 2008 its capacity was almost doubled with the demolition of a neighbouring building and the construction of an extension which provided a further 29 rooms and expanded reception and dining areas.
The same year also saw a major investment at the Angel in Bury, including the addition of new bedrooms, bringing the total to 75, and refurbished bar and restaurant areas.
Mr Gough, who is a board member of Visit East Anglia chairman of the Suffolk Tourism Group, said yesterday that, while he did not have “builders parked around the corner”, he hoped to make a start on the redevelopment in Southwold as soon as possible.
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“The planning permission for the hotel was a key reason when we decided to purchase the business,” he said. “To be able to build a hotel in Southwold is an amazing opportunity, as is being able to build a hotel on a pier.”