Plans made for hotel at ex-council offices

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PLANS have been submitted to St Edmundsbury Borough Council to transform New Shire Hall in Bury St Edmunds into a hotel.

In a design and access statement to the council, M & D Developments, which acquired the former Suffolk County Council offices in 2010, stated that recent enquiries from hoteliers had inspired its current application.

The statement said that a scheme had been prepared by hoteliers Travelodge proposing 80 suites of varying size could be created at the site on Raingate Street.

The statement said: “Since the building is arranged to provide a series of small cellular spaces accessed from a central spine corridor with means of escape at either end, the layout is in principle ideally suited to hotel accommodation in practical terms.

“The location of the building is in many ways ideal for a hotel being sufficiently close to the historic town centre to enable easy and pleasant pedestrian access yet situated in a quieter quasi-residential area with excellent adjacent private parking facilities.”

St Edmundsbury Borough Council tourism officer Sharon Fairweather said a new hotel could open the town to new markets.

She said: “We are short of large hotels in Bury.

“We have a great selection of hotels in town but one thing we struggle with is targeting the conference market. We don’t have many large hotels with lots of rooms. There is plenty of parking around the site and it is near to the Abbey Gardens and to the town centre, so it is a perfect place for a hotel.

“A new hotel would not only increase the footfall in the town but would increase our ability to target different markets.”

New Shire Hall, which became vacant in 2008, has already had a new residential wing approved by the council. It is proposed the eastern end of the site is retained for office use.