Former Suffolk Hotel, closed for 25 years, in Bury St Edmunds town centre to be restored in major redevelopment plans
A former Bury St Edmunds town centre hotel which has been closed for 25 years is to be restored.
The historic Suffolk Hotel, in Buttermarket, which shut in 1996, is to be returned to its original use in major restoration proposals by Gatsby Retail Limited.
The site includes Waterstones and the recently closed Edinburgh Woollen Mill and the two shops would be 'retained and remodelled' to bring back the hotel, according to a heritage impact assessment.
A planning statement said the 30 bedroom hotel would 'protect employment opportunities in the wake of the departure of Edinburgh Woollen Mill whilst providing additional hospitality jobs, and all the secondary economic benefits of a more vibrant tourist market'.
It said the hotel could 'once again aid the economic viability of the town centre'.
A new entrance would be created at the back of the Grade II listed building, in High Baxter Street, with an atrium on the first floor which would form the 'heart' of the hotel.
The glass ceiling would serve a new upstairs bar/café area.
The derelict parts of the former hotel would be renovated and the back of Waterstones and the former Edinburgh Woollen Mill redeveloped to serve as the hotel foyer.
Waterstones would be 'remodelled' to remove the existing staircase and lift shaft and the shop will no longer have access to the first floor.
The planning statement said the upstairs café at Waterstones 'would not be lost, but instead more formally incorporated' into the hotel complex.
It noted the plans 'would result in the loss of some shopping space, but ultimately retain two good sized healthy units that fall perfectly within the size to retain the interest of more national stores, but now also cater for the more independent businesses which may want to explore a more permanent home after trading on the weekly markets'.
Although there would be no parking on site, a free bus service will be provided which will pick up from council car parks and deliver direct to the hotel.
The heritage impact assessment said the building 'served as an inn and hotel for several hundred years, and stood in its current form since the 19th century'.