Posh homes for historic Felixstowe site

BUILT as stables for a hotel notoriously torched by suffragettes, Felixstowe's last untouched historic property is set to become six upmarket homes.The former stables and coach house in Bath Road was sold at auction last year for £336,000 and needed hundreds of thousands of pounds spent on it.

BUILT as stables for a hotel notoriously torched by suffragettes, Felixstowe's last untouched historic property is set to become six upmarket homes.

The former stables and coach house in Bath Road was sold at auction last year for £336,000 and needed hundreds of thousands of pounds spent on it.

New owners Roseberry Homes have now been granted permission by Suffolk Coastal council to convert the Victorian building into six homes.

The project has been widely welcomed as it will mean the restoration of the property, a grade 2 listed building in the resort's conservation area, bringing it back into use after many years of being abandoned.

The Suffolk Preservation Society (SPS) said: "This is an important listed building – a rare survivor of the former buildings of the Bath Hotel, itself important in the history of Felixstowe and marking a period of considerable expansion and development of the town resort.

"Its present condition gives cause for concern and it has therefore been important to find a viable and appropriate new use for it as soon as possible."

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Although both the SPS and Felixstowe Society had concerns over the number of homes to be squeezed into the building, planners felt six was acceptable as many original features will be maintained.

The stable block was designed by Thomas Cotman, architect of many of Felixstowe's best-known buildings, and built in 1892 for brewer John Cobbold as part of the Bath Hotel, which was burned down by suffragettes in 1914.

Since then it has only been used for storage, although it is solidly-built and in an exceptionally good state of repair.

Its 16 rooms, cloakroom and entrance hall boast nearly 7,000sq ft and stand on a site of nearly a fifth of an acre.

Felixstowe Lawn Tennis Club, sold the property to fund pavilion and ground refurbishments.

Roseberry Properties have worked in Felixstowe already, carrying out the acclaimed conversion of the clifftop mansion Cranmer House, built originally for the Cobbold brewing family.

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IT was a coastguard who first spotted the huge pall of smoke hanging over the little seaside resort while residents slept and dawn broke.

By the time firefighters arrived at Felixstowe's Bath Hotel with their handcart, horse-drawn fire engine and three hoses, the building's east side was already an inferno and they were facing an impossible battle against the flames.

Low pressure on the water main meant they had to stop fighting the blaze at one stage as it tore through the 70-bedroom hotel, burning most of it to the ground.

Shocked crowds gathered to see the devastation and watch as walls tumbled and roofs collapsed.

Police found in the shrubbery of the hotel grounds three luggage labels tied to tree branches, bearing messages that peace would never come until women received the vote.

That afternoon – April 28, 1914 – two women, Evaline Hilda Burkitt, 37, and Florence Olivia Tunks, 22, were arrested at local lodging rooms.

The Bath Hotel was the town's first and most important hotel. Built in 1839, it was used by the rich and famous, a millionaires' paradise, used by royalty and government ministers.

Burkitt was jailed for two years and Tunks for nine months. In Holloway they went on hunger strike.

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