Gough Hotels Ltd, which owns the Angel Hotel in Bury St Edmunds and the Salthouse Harbour Hotel in Ipswich, has bought Southwold Pier.
The managing director of Gough Hotels Robert Gough said: “I have always considered Southwold to be the most iconic place on the East Coast of England with other fantastic businesses and we see it as a great opportunity to expand our business.”
Stephen and Antonia Bournes, who bought Southwold Pier in March 2005, said this week they were delighted to announce that negotiations had concluded for the sale of the business to Gough Hotles, for an undisclosed sum.
Since buying it, the Bournes’ have transformed the pier into a thriving attraction with gift shops, a restaurant, cafés and an arcade of alternative slot machines, with a footfall of more than 750,000 visitors a year.
Their plans to replace the existing pavilion with a 30-bedroom luxury hotel was given the go-ahead in December 2010.
Mr Bournes said “We have enjoyed eight years of hard work and great fun making the pier the landmark that it is today.
“We want to see the pier continue to thrive and our plans brought to fruition and we feel that Robert Gough is the natural successor.
“He shares our vision for the pier to be more than just another seaside amusement arcade and, with his hotel development expertise, he is well placed to build the new hotel.”
Mr Gough said: “Stephen and Antonia will be a hard act to follow, but we are confident we can build on the success of the pier
and, in time, develop the luxury hotel, which will transform the business into a 365 day a year enterprise.
“This will not only boost the pier’s shops and restaurants, but increase employment and the appeal of the town as a year round tourist destination.”
Currently, the pier is the second largest employer in Southwold. It has 45 full-time staff, which rises to 95 people in the summer season.