December 7 2013 Latest news:
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Southwold’s iconic pier has been sold to a luxury hotel business.
Gough Hotels Ltd, which owns The Angel Hotel in Bury St Edmunds and The Salthouse Harbour Hotel in Ipswich, has bought the landmark, which attracts tens of thousands of visitors every year.
The deal, which was announced to staff by the current owners Stephen and Antonia Bournes today, potentially adds a third hotel to the Gough family’s business.
Planning permission was secured in 2010 for the redevelopment of the main building at the shore end of the pier as a luxury Art Deco-style 30-bedroom hotel.
Mr Bournes said today: “We are very excited about the sale. Gough Hotels are great operators and are passionate about Suffolk.
“They are keen to take on the hotel development and we see this as really good news for Southwold, and for Suffolk. We know Gough Hotels well and we believe we could not have found a better buyer.”
Southwold Pier was put up for sale two years ago and attracted interest from a variety of parties but no deal resulted.
Mr Bournes said Robert Gough, the owner of Gough Hotels, had made an approach more recently after being impressed during a visit to the pier when it hosted an event for the Visit East Anglia tourism body.
The original Southwold Pier was built in 1900 as a landing stage for the Belle steamships, which carried passengers to seaside destinations from London.
It was originally 810 feet long but major storms in 1934, 1955 and 1979 successively reduced it to just 60 feet in length.
Reconstruction took place between 1999 and 2001, when the pier was rebuilt to a length of 623 feet.
The present main building dates from a major refurbishment in 1937.
Stephen and Antonia Bournes acquired the pier in 2005, since when they have invested in a number of improvements.