Couple planning to close town centre restaurant

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A TOWN centre restaurant is to close and be converted into apartments – the eaterie to shut its doors in weeks.

The owners of Peggotty’s Restaurant and Carvery in Guildhall Street, Bury St Edmunds, want to ‘quit while they’re ahead’ after running the business for 23 years.

Nigel Philpin, 54, and his wife Judith, 52, plan to convert the 17th century building into three two- bedroom apartments and aim to start work on the development in a couple of months.

The move follows the closure last month of Bang Bangs Wine Bar and Restaurant, in Hatter Street, which served sausages and mash and staged monthly burlesque nights.

Mr Philpin said: “We want to re-evaluate life. Catering is a hard industry and we’re not getting any younger. We feel the time is right for us now. We want to quit while we’re ahead.

“A lot of customers are very upset. We’ve had to work hard at building our trade up and a lot of them became friends over the years. At the end of the day, it’s a lifestyle choice. We want to take life a little bit slower.”

The restaurant, which serves mainly English cuisine, is named after the character Mr Peggotty from the novel David Copperfield by Charles Dickens, who once stayed in Bury.

The building started life as four cottages and later became a pork butchers.

From the 1920s, the premises housed a range of businesses including a grocery, sweet shop and children’s clothes shop.

It became a restaurant in 1974 and Mr and Mrs Philpin took over in 1988.

The business will remain open until work starts on the development, which Mr Philpin hopes will be towards the end of April subject to them obtaining planning permission.

Meanwhile, Bang Bangs restaurant has closed following 18 months in the town. But bosses are continuing with the burlesque side of the enterprise.

Charlie Knight, who ran the business with friend Claire Anderton, confirmed that ‘rising costs’ were behind the closure.

She said: “The burlesque took off more than the restaurant so we’ve carried on with the burlesque.”

They will present a show at LP in Woolhall Street, Bury, on March 17.