Could a former bank become Felixstowe’s newest restaurant?
- Credit: Archant
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."
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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ago, it has made a series of applications for different styles of development - with the last four all having been withdrawn before a decision could be made.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.