A 30-bedroom luxury hotel is to be built on Southwold Pier, following the sale of the landmark structure to Gough Hotels, off a guide price of £6m.
"To be able to build a hotel in Southwold - one of the most iconic places on the east coast of England - is an amazing opportunity, as is being able to build a hotel on a pier," he explained. "We see it as a great opportunity to expand our business and are delighted to get involved in such a wonderful town."
The 623ft-long pier was bought by Gough Hotels from Stephen and Antonia Bourne, who have been the owners since 2005. Originally built in 1900, before being destroyed by a storm in 1934, the pier was rebuilt in 2000, since when it has enjoyed a rejuvenation as a leisure venue with shops, cafés and a restaurant.
"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," Gough said. "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."
Gough said that he hoped to adjust some aspects of the planning permission, obtained in 2010, to create an art deco-style hotel. "We may make some alterations, but the design will reflect the hotel's coastal location."