Fresh hope for future for boarded-up seafront hotel
- Credit: SARAH LUCY BROWN
Hopes are high that one of Felixstowe's best-known hotels which has stood boarded-up for nearly a year could be moving closer to a major refurbishment project.
Owner of the 49-bedroom Marlborough Hotel has now submitted amended plans for the venue, indicating that work could start soon.
Sudeep Singh gained permission for the project to create a "landmark hotel" seven years ago.
It would see the four-storey hotel in Sea Road transformed into a vibrant and stylish 14-bed boutique hotel and restaurant with the rest of the building converted to create 26 apartments - nine of them in a new rear extension off Beach Road West - plus a new retail unit.
The hotel, which enjoys panoramic sea views, would also see its original timber verandas reinstated.
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It has been a popular destination for holidaymakers, visiting organisations, business people and conference delegates over the years with a well-used restaurant and function suite, and the much-loved Flying Boat Bar.
Mr Singh originally sought the changes because he said the hotel was no longer viable due to low room occupancy, a 75% rise in business rates in recent years, and other bills increasing.
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It is hoped the smaller boutique hotel would provide "optimal occupancy" throughout the year, with the aim of the venture to provide "one of the best choice hotels in Felixstowe, creating a different experience with the emphasis on personal service, the historical nature of the Marlborough Hotel, and its unique location and seaviews".
CHMRP Architects, for Mr Singh, said the new planning application to East Suffolk Council did not change the original plans agreed by the council, except for the addition of two internal platform lifts and lobbies which would create easier access to upper floors. There would be some small modifications to lay-outs of the flats to accommodate these but the number of apartments was unchanged.
Felixstowe councillor Steve Wiles welcomed the application and described it as a "positive start to 2021 - potential investment showing continuing confidence in our town".
The resort has a buoyant market for seafront apartments at the moment - flats in the new contemporary-style building which replaced the North Sea Hotel are rapidly being taken up, and the flats in the converted former Waverley Hotel sold fast when they were completed.