New Shire Hall hotel proposals approved

PLANS to transform the New Shire Hall in Bury St Edmunds into a Travelodge hotel have been approved by St Edmundsbury Borough Council, despite facing objections from local residents’ groups.

The application, which went before the council’s development control committee yesterday, is for part of the building, on Raingate Street, to be turned into 80 Travelodge hotel suites.

Although the conservation officer, environmental health services, the highways authority and St Edmundsbury Borough Council had no objections to the plans, local resident groups and neighbours voiced strong objections. Responses received by the borough council by members of the Southgate Area Association were in a ratio of 10 opposed to three in favour.

The group argued a hotel at the New Shire Hall would increase traffic problems in the area, would have a bad effect on independent hoteliers and that it would have a detrimental impact on local residents.

Some responses agreed, however, that the site would create new jobs and would fill the unused and vacant building.

Neighbours to the proposed hotel had also voiced their concerns, one of them saying that a conversion to a Travelodge ‘would be a travesty’.

Concerns raised included the location of the hotel being unsuitable due to its historical setting near the cathedral and Abbey.

It was also claimed that current road systems would not be able to cope with the extra traffic caused by the hotel and that the build would have a detrimental impact to St Margaret’s Grade II* listed buildings and the Abbey Wall.

M & D Developments purchased the site in 2010 and have already been given approveal to build a four-storey wing for residential apartments.

It is proposed the south-east corner of the building remain for office use.

What do you think? Email letters@buryfreepress.co.uk