Fire-ravaged hotel 'must be restored'

A TOWN watchdog has led calls for the “tragic ruin” of a prominent Georgian hotel to be returned to its former glory - five months after it was destroyed by fire.

Dave Gooderham

A TOWN watchdog has led calls for the “tragic ruin” of a prominent Georgian hotel to be returned to its former glory - five months after it was destroyed by fire.

As police chiefs continue their painstaking investigation into the arson attack on Sudbury's Tarantella Hotel, fears have been voiced about the future of the fire-ravaged building.

Community leaders and former residents have joined forces to call for work to begin as it emerged police were no longer treating the hotel as a crime scene and so restoration work could take place.

Barry Wall, chairman of Sudbury History Society, said: “We are very concerned about the situation but I think everyone is.

“The Tarantella was pretty much the first building you saw when you come into Sudbury and it did make an attractive gateway.

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“It is a good example of an early Victorian building and it also had a good historical factor. But it is now just a tragic ruin and the longer it is left the more it is going to deteriorate.

“I would hope to see it back to its former glory but if it is not going to be restored as a hotel, it should be put back on market and sold as a private home.”

Joan Steed, whose grandfather George Whitehouse bought it in 1910 for just £10,000, backed calls for restoration work. She said: “I am concerned about what is happening as it all appears to have gone quiet of late.

“I would hope any kind of work would begin sooner rather than later and I would love to see it restored to its original state. For me personally, it is very sad seeing it in its current condition as my family lived there for nearly 50 years and I got married there in 1964.”

The hotel was deliberately destroyed on January 25 when more than 100 firefighters tackled the blaze. Investigators immediately feared the fire was suspicious after they discovered it had started in two separate parts of the hotel.

The owners of the hotel, Agnello and Domenic Gargiulo were last night unavailable for comment but speaking in February, Agnello told the EADT: “We remain hopeful that whoever did this will be caught but until someone is found I am not going to feel safe.”

A spokesman for Suffolk police confirmed investigations were ongoing but, as the hotel was no longer being treated as a crime scene, the owners were allowed to carry out any restoration work.

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