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Southwold Pier plans opposed

PUBLISHED: 10:35 30 July 2009 | UPDATED: 11:09 06 July 2010

PLANNING bosses have been advised to refuse proposals for the multi-million pound refurbishment of a popular Suffolk pier.

At its monthly meeting on Tuesday night (July 28) Southwold Town Council recommended that Waveney District Council reject the suggested development at North Parade.

PLANNING bosses have been advised to refuse proposals for the multi-million pound refurbishment of a popular Suffolk pier.

At its monthly meeting on Tuesday night (July 28) Southwold Town Council recommended that Waveney District Council reject the suggested development at North Parade.

Pier owner Stephen Bournes has handed in a planning application to completely refurbish the attraction, including knocking down the pavilion and building a five storey, 34-bedroom four star hotel.

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

Southwold Town Council is recommending the planning application be refused on the grounds that it would be an over development of the site and that the building would dominate the area.

It was also concerned about the lack of car parking and did not want parts of the public car park allocated specifically for the hotel.

It was also felt that a multi-function room was inadequate as a replacement for the Beachcomber bar and that no provisions had been made for the storage of waste.

Councillors also thought the new building would go over the “red line”- created by Waveney District Council in 1996 and beyond which no development should occur.

Jennifer Hursell, clerk to the town council, said: “It was felt that the changes would create a new development. Councillors wanted clarity of the implications.”

Mr Bournes, who along with his wife Antonia bought Southwold Pier in 2005, is hoping the new hotel will encourage people to visit all year round - reducing the contrast between the peak demand in summer and the quieter winter months.

“A number of B&Bs have been sold for holiday homes over the last couple of years and what we are proposing would replace the lost bedrooms,” he said. “It's important for the balance of the town, for its restaurants and shops.

“We are also offering permanent employment. We have 25 people on salary, a number of which are young people employed since they were 16. If we can only offer seasonal work then how do these people live? Southwold is a tourist town and people in this profession need jobs.”

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

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