Mystery over closure of seafront hotel – will it become flats?
PUBLISHED: 16:57 06 September 2020 | UPDATED: 16:57 06 September 2020
One of Felixstowe’s best-known seafront hotels is facing an uncertain future after having been closed and boarded up for several months.
The 49-bedroom Marlborough Hotel, which enjoys panoramic sea views, stands empty, an eyesore in an area being smartened up, and with no apparent sign of reopening.
The four-storey hotel has been a popular destination for holidaymakers, visiting organisations, business people and conference delegates over the years with a popular restaurant and the much-loved Flying Boat Bar.
Six years ago though planning consent was granted to turn the property in Sea Road into a 14-bed boutique hotel with a restaurant and shop on the ground floor, with the frontage restored to its former glory.
The rest of the building – along with a new three-storey modern extension to the rear – would be used to create 26 one, two and three-bedroom apartments.
Owner Sudeep Singh 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.
It was not the first time remodelling of the hotel had been proposed – back in 1993 councillors refused consent to turn it unto 24 flats with a bar and carvery on the ground floor.
However, the 2013 permission has now expired – although it sets a precedent and some community leaders will not want to see it revived.
Coastal ward town councillor Doreen Savage said to see the hotel closed and boarded up was “very sad”.
She said: “We had a similar situation with the North Sea Hotel for many years but now that has been demolished and a new development is taking place on its site – the Marlborough has now become the North Sea.
“It’s a real shame and very sad because we need more decent hotels.
“The Marlborough is in a prime position – right on the seafront – and what we need is someone with vision and the money to come along and turn it into what it used to be. It could be an absolute gem.”
However, Mrs Savage was against conversion into flats as parking problems had worsened in the seafront area.
The owners of the Marlborough Hotel could not be contacted for comment.