Concerns over plans for Bury St Edmunds hotel

Ounce House, Bury St Edmunds
Ounce House, Bury St Edmunds
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Plans to reopen a ‘small hotel’ in Bury St Edmunds - with additional guest bedrooms and a public restaurant and bar - have sparked concerns from residents.

Noise and disturbance, parking and access issues and claims of inaccurate and misleading planning statements are at the centre of neighbours’ complaints over the scheme for Ounce House in Northgate Street.

Chestnut Group, which bought Ounce House in January, claims its proposal to transform the property, originally two homes, into a hotel with nine ‘high quality and beautifully appointed en-suite bedrooms’ will create 26 jobs.

Its plans include an on-site restaurant for 55 diners, a bar, outside terrace and 18 car parking spaces.

At a well-attended Bury Town Council planning meeting last week, David Bedford spoke of a ‘litany of mistakes and lies’ in the application.

He said the property had operated as a family home and bed and breakfast, not a small hotel as claimed, and that the area proposed for a car park ‘had never’ been used as such.

Michael Apichella told councillors the ‘narrow gates’ used to access Ounce House were shared by his property and were only intended for domestic use.

He said it was a ‘dangerous proposition’ which would cause congestion in Northgate Street and put pedestrians at risk.

He pointed out that only 15 per cent of Chestnut’s projected income was due to come from the hotel, with 85 per cent of its total revenue expected to come from food and drink, ‘people coming and going through eight foot wide gates’.

Town councillors voted unanimously to object to the scheme.

A borough council delegation panel will decide later this month if the application will go to committee.

In a statement to the Bury Free Press on behalf of Chestnut Group, Naomi Tayler, of Birketts LLP solicitors, said: “By way of clarification, Chestnut Group has confirmed that it is denied that its planning application contained ‘a litany of lies and mistakes’. A sworn statement from the previous occupier of Ounce House regarding its past use as a small hotel is being produced for the planning officer.”