Southwold Pier hotel 'will be sympathetic' to town, says new owner

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Media captionThe pier's pavilion is due to be replaced with a luxury art deco-style hotel

The new owner of Southwold Pier says he will build a 21st Century art deco hotel that is "sympathetic" to the town's history.

Robert Gough, managing director of Bury St Edmunds based Gough Hotels, bought the historic pier for less than the £6m asking price last month.

The 30-bedroom hotel will replace the arcade at the front of the pier.

"The building isn't the best part of the pier," Mr Gough said. "It's great we can demolish that and build anew."

The pier was built in 1900 and refurbished 100 years later.

Mr Gough, who also runs the Angel in Bury St Edmunds and the Salthouse in Ipswich, said it would be his wife Claire's job, as design director, to orchestrate how to "incorporate the special flavour of Southwold into the pier".

He said he was confident the hotel would not have the kind of opposition coffee chain Costa faced when it announced plans to move to the town.

"We've been a Suffolk business for 40 years," Mr Gough said.

"I'm sure the people of Southwold are going to be keen to see Suffolk businesses succeed.

"I don't believe Mr Costa is that local, so I understand their concerns about that."

The 623ft (190m) long pier also includes several restaurants, shops and the Under the Pier Show arcade.

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