By RICHARD WOOD
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
A prominent town centre pub and hotel will finally reopen its doors next week after lying dormant for two-and-a-half years.
The King’s Head Hotel, in Beccles, has undergone a £2.38m redevelop-ment ahead of its opening next Tuesday.
The hotel, in New Market, was boarded up in August 2010 when it was bought by JD Wetherspoon, but after lying untouched for more than two years work finally started in October.
This was met with relief in the town, as the building had been labelled an “eyesore”, and on Tuesday there will be celebrations as it is finally opened, with the creation of 60 jobs.
Mayor Graham Catchpole said he hoped it would rejuvenate the town centre.
“It has been a long wait for it, but I always felt it would be worth the wait, and from what I have seen they have done an excellent job,” he said.
“I look forward to an exciting future in the town centre. It will bring the life back into the town, particularly the evenings.”
A 20-bedroom hotel will be on the two floors above the pub, with old garages converted into a reception off Smallgate.
Mr Catchpole said: “The key thing is the addition of the hotel rooms, bringing people in and hopefully keeping them in the evenings.”
The King’s Head was a coaching inn originally built in the 17th century. It was altered in the 18th century and has been at the heart of town life, obtaining Grade II listed status in 1971.
In the past two-and-a-half years there have been numerous calls to improve the visual appearance of the building with the town council in regular correspondence with the national pub chain.
In July last year it was revealed that work could not start until asbestos was removed from the site, but in October scaffolding finally went up.
The first guests are expected this weekend as they are invited to look around the pub and hotel ahead of Tuesday’s opening.
Manager Lee Utting, who previously worked at the Bell Hotel in the centre of Norwich, said: “Myself and my team are looking forward to welcoming customers into the pub and hotel and we are confident that customers will be impressed by the transformation of the building.”