Hotel 'nobody wants to buy' for sale as housing for £365,000

Howard and Helen Fradley, who have run the Castle Hotel in Downham Market for 27 years. Picture: Chr

Howard and Helen Fradley, selling the Castle Hotel in Downham Market. They were heartbroken when no one came forward to take it on as a hotel so are selling it now with planning permission for conversion to housing. - Credit: Archant

A historic Norfolk hotel for sale for more than two years with no buyer is being auctioned - with £180,000 wiped off the price tag.

The Castle Hotel, in Downham market. Picture: Chris Bishop

The Castle Hotel, in Downham Market. - Credit: Archant

The Castle Hotel in Downham Market was put on the market back in 2018 by its hosts who were heartbroken when no one came forward to take it on.

Howard and Helen Fradley, who had successfully run the 12-bedroom hotel since 1991, were left with no option after struggling to find a buyer.

So last year, they submitted a listed building application to convert the hotel into six apartments, to change a brewhouse into a one-bedroom property and to create another one bedroom property.

A photograph on display in the bar, showing the Castle Hotel, a former coaching inn in the early day

An old photograph of the Castle Hotel, a former coaching inn. - Credit: Archant

The application was approved by West Norfolk council last March and the property has now gone up for sale at online auction next month.


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Downham Market Town Council had recommended that the plans to turn it into housing were refused on the grounds of loss of hotel accommodation in the town.

But the plans were approved because the owners stated they had tried to sell it as a hotel for years including putting it on with three different property agents.

Places -- DDownham Market Town CentreDated -- 23 July no year givenCastle Hotel on junctio

An old photograph showing the Castle Hotel in the middle of Downham Market. - Credit: Archant

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Auction House is now selling the property which is listed and has 12 rooms with planning permission for six flats and two semi detached cottages. Auctioneer Bryan Baxter said: "The hotel has been run as a profitable business occupied by the present owner for more than 20 years. Due to retirement the owners have obtained the planning permission."

The couple originally put the hotel on the market for £545,000 but it is now for sale in the auction for £365,000.

The Castle Hotel is Grade II listed and features a distinctive battlemented parapet.

It is a mainly 18th century building, but with parts dating back earlier. 

In the past, visitors stayed there for hunting, shooting and fishing in the local area.

The hotel had its own transport to and from the railway station, and to take people out on shooting parties.

In recent years it received various accolades including being noted for its 'exceptional breakfast' by Visit England.

The livestream auction is taking place on February 10.

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