Pier redevelopment plan unveiled

THE owner of a historic pier has spoken of his latest plans for a major multi-million pound re-development, which includes building a new four star luxury hotel.

THE owner of a historic pier has spoken of his latest plans for a major multi-million pound re-development, which includes building a new four star luxury hotel.

Stephen Bournes, who along with his wife Antonia bought Southwold Pier in 2005, hopes the investment will encourage people to visit the popular seaside resort all year round and provide a boost to the local tourist industry during the quiet winter months.

He has already submitted proposals to the district authority and tonight they will be discussed by members of the town council.

Permission to build 10 two bedroom apartments on the upper floor of Southwold Pier along with other improvements was granted in April 2007.

But it was decided the accommodation could only be used on a seasonal basis and Mr Bournes hopes the new plans for a hotel will result in the condition being removed so it can be used throughout the winter.

The proposals - which will cost in the region of �4m - include demolishing the existing pavilion building and creating a new five storey structure that will feature a 34-bedroom, four-star luxury hotel.

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There are also plans to improve the existing amusement arcade, re-model the kitchen, extend the caf�, create a new bar and replace the Beachcomber Bar with a multi function room to be used by members of the community.

It is hoped the hotel will also have the added advantage of being able to cater for conferences, staff training and corporate entertainment throughout the year.

Mr Bournes said: 'We have the opportunity to regenerate a landmark building, replacing a crumbling structure with one capable of holding the line against coastal erosion for generations to come.

'It's a very exciting project and the first of its kind - ensuring the financial viability of the pier and providing security of employment for an increasing number of local people.

'At the moment there is a problem with sustainability but the new hotel will reduce the contrast between the peak demand in summer and the quieter winter months - providing a boost to tourism all year round.'

Waveney District Council is hoping to make a decision on the plans in early October.

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