Could a former bank become Felixstowe's newest restaurant?
PUBLISHED: 16:00 02 November 2019
A closed down bank which has stood empty for more than a year is being promoted as the site for a potential new restaurant.
The former NatWest Bank on the corner of Hamilton Road and York Road in Felixstowe is a substantial building which has been part of the resort's high street for decades.
Penn Commercial, which is handling the premises for the owners, said planning permission had been granted for a change of use to a restaurant.
The property can also be extended to the rear and the upper floors are also available for a new occupant to use.
The company said: "There is also scope for some external seating. The wc's and staff facilities are currently on the upper floors, and the property requires some degree of refurbishment."
The ground floor of the building is 1,935 sq ft.
The rent for the NatWest building would be £27,500 a year with £9,000 annual business rates.
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The building is in the centre of what is fast becoming a hub of town centre eateries - opposite Prezzo and a new fried chicken restaurant/takeaway and close to the Bencotto, while Wetherspoons has plans for a pub with restaurant in the same stretch of road.
A spokesman for JD Wetherspoons said that there was no date yet for a start on the project for the old Central Surgery site at the corner of Hamilton Road and High Road West.
He said: "We are still looking at that site."
The company maintains that it is keen to open a pub in Felixstowe and believe it will be a great asset to the town and act as a catalyst for further investment. It says it will create 50 new jobs.
However, since gaining planning permission for a pub five years ago, it has made a series of applications for different styles of development - with the last four all having been withdrawn before a decision could be made.
These have included a spectacular four-storey building including a pub and a 50-room hotel, submitted earlier this year, and a five-storey property containing a pub and 24 apartments, which went to the council planners last year.
Permission for a pub has already been granted - despite enormous opposition from residents in the area to the earliest applications, with people worried about a number of issues, including the pub's nearness to Fairfield Infant school, late-night noise from people walking home, and extra traffic and parking in an already busy area.
Felixstowe Town Council and East Suffolk Council support the project - but town councillors want the pub to face into Great Eastern Square, taking advantage of the open space as a nice vista for drinkers, perhaps a place for entertainment.
Wetherspoons though insist on facing the pub onto the road with outside seating in its beer garden on High Road East, next to the Co-op filling station and busy roundabout.