Developer 'ecstatic' as multi-million pound town hotel gets green light

A CGI of the Travelodge hotel planned for Russell Road Retail Park in Ipswich

A first look at what the new Travelodge close to Ipswich Town Football Club which look like - Credit: Burney Group

The developer behind a new 100-bed hotel scheme in Ipswich says he is "absolutely ecstatic" after the plans were given the thumbs up by town councillors.

Ipswich Borough Council's planning committee unanimously approved proposals to build a new Travelodge hotel on an 84-space car park area between Suffolk County Council’s Endeavour House headquarters and the former Better Gym building in Russell Road on July 28.

The car park - which lies close to Ipswich Town Football club's stadium - has been underused since the closure of the gym and former Staples/Office Outlet retail store at the site.

Chigwell-based businessman Daren Burney, founder of the Burney Group, said they were "delighted" at the decision. He snapped up the now vacated Russell Road Retail Park in Ipswich for an undisclosed sum earlier this year.

Daren Burney, founder and managing director of the Burney Group.

Daren Burney, founder and managing director of the Burney Group, which is planning to build a 99-bed Travelodge next to Ipswich Town Football Club - Credit: Burney Group

"This is a welcome boost for Ipswich’s tourism trade which has been in desperate need of new, high-quality hotel accommodation for some time now. The hotel benefits from a strong location - which is just a stone’s throw from Portman Road stadium - while acting as a gateway to the railway station and town centre," he said.

The five-storey hotel designed by Dovetail Architects will include 28 family rooms, 64 double rooms and eight accessible rooms, as well as allocated car parking underneath the building and some car park spaces outside. It will also have a bar and restaurant.

Part of  the 2.6 acre site also includes a retail warehouse which is currently split into a 16,651sq ft unit and one measuring 24,450sq ft which are now in line for a major facelift by the Burney Group. The complex was home to Better Gym which closed early last year and Office Outlet which shut its doors in 2019.

Burney Group plans to breathe new life into the vacant site by refurbishing the existing space and dividing the warehouse into five separate units ranging in size from 4,327sq ft to 11,032sq ft. 

Mr Burney - whose company is involved in a number of commercial property projects in the region - said the hotel would be built to Travelodge's specifications, but Burney Group would remain as landlord of the site.

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"We are spending millions of pounds on construction costs," he said. 

He praised Ipswich Borough Council saying their officials were demanding but "a pleasure to work with".  "It's good because when you are a company investing considerable amounts of money you like to feel appreciated."

The scheme would "definitely" regenerate and improve the area, he added.

"We are going to re-clad and modernise all the retail warehousing units," he said. "They are been vacant for over a year now - they need some tlc (tender loving care)."

Burney Group is a company which retains its portfolio - meaning the project will be a long-term investment for it.

"We take a lot of pride in what we deliver - I'm very proud of every single project," said the developer.

He expected construction to start in the autumn and estimated it would take just under a year to build.

"Burney Group have a number of development projects throughout the country and like to identify local authorities who appreciate the investment and job creation as well as the considerable Investment into the local economy . In this case this has clearly been evident , and we look forward to breaking ground as soon as possible so that we can deliver the hotel in autumn 2022," he said.