Popular Woodbridge restaurant revamp given go-ahead

The Galley in Woodbridge has secured consent for alterations - owner Ugur Vata at the restaurant 

The Galley in Woodbridge has secured consent for alterations - owner Ugur Vata at the restaurant - Credit: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Planners have given the go-ahead for one of Woodbridge's best-known restaurants to expand to enhance the experience for diners and improve working areas for staff.

The work at The Galley will see internal and external alterations, including creation of a link extension and conversion of public toilets to become part of the restaurant premises - with new public toilets built for the town.

Owner Ugur Vata applied to East Suffolk Council for permission to carry out the work at the venue on Market Hill.

Council officers have now analysed the proposals and agreed approval.

Planning case officer Grant Heal said the creation of two new public toilets on land behind the restaurant off Theatre Street would include a fully accessible toilet, and would "greatly enhance" the toilet provision in the town centre.

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He said of the plans: "In this way, the proposal would drastically improve inclusivity, as deemed vitally important given the area and wider district's aging demographic.

"Moreover, the proposal represents a local strategy for safeguarding and improving a valued public facility through a high-quality and accessible scheme that would support the long-term health and well-being needs of the local community, while improving the tourist offering in an important historic location.

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"Further, the proposal would allow an established restaurant to modernise and improve its offering towards ensuring future viability which will also help to sustain the town centre and ensure its long-term vitality."

The current 1960s toilet bock has been a problem in recent years - a place attracting anti-social behaviour, including drug misuse, partly as a result of its secluded location. The Galley has suffered a number of break-ins and robberies, with access largely being gained to the rear of the public toilets over the boundary wall.

The Galley, an early 17th century Grade II-listed three-storey building, has been a restaurant since 1973, and was previously a shop.

The proposed works will involve a rear extension, linking the existing building and the proposed production kitchen, along with internal alterations including new restaurant toilets with baby changing facilities, staff room and office. 

The new production kitchen would be away from the busy serving kitchen within the existing building, for food preparation and demonstrations. 

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