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Owner of The Great House in Lavenham plans to develop courtyard to improve kitchen and restaurant space

The owner of an award-winning Suffolk restaurant and hotel plans to develop its courtyard to improve facilities at the venue.

Dr Dominique Tropeano, who also owns Colchester Zoo, has sought permission from Babergh District Council to make the changes at The Great House Restaurant and Hotel, in Lavenham.

The proposals for the Grade II listed building, in Market Place, would make minor internal alterations and develop the courtyard area to 'accommodate improved kitchen facilities and restaurant dining space', according to a design and access statement.

The Great House in Lavenham
The Great House in Lavenham

It said that while the venue had a 'raft of awards and positive press', customer assumptions were 'continually evolving and in its current arrangement, The Great House is seriously lacking in facilities'.

"The customer expectation of being able to see into or around the kitchen cannot be met, both the food preparation area and storage are inadequate, and the patisserie operates out of the cellar, an impractical workspace for staff," it said.

"Additionally there is no lounge, no cloakroom and insufficient WC provision.

"There is a genuine desire to make changes that, whilst not impacting on the fabric of this beautiful, historic building, will provide a much-needed space to deliver a higher standard to the customer, kitchen service, access, and overall comfort."

A heritage statement concluded the courtyard 'would be the area least sensitive to development' and proposals have been developed and revised after consultation with Historic England.

The plans retain a large area of the courtyard, while the new single storey kitchen extension would form a u-shaped layout and would replace current storage structures.

It would provide extra space for an 'improved kitchen facility to meet the growing needs of the restaurant' and allow guests to view their meals being prepared.

Meanwhile, a lean-to glass structure would be built to provide a connection between the existing dining area and the new kitchen extension.

Internal changes would improve toilet provision and provide 'safer access for guests'.

The statement added that Dr Tropeano had 'demonstrated a desire to ensure the Great House maintains and builds upon its current reputation, contributing to the prosperity of Lavenham for many years to come'.

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