Historic hotel set to close and be turned into flats
PUBLISHED: 08:59 25 February 2020 | UPDATED: 10:38 25 February 2020
A landmark hotel looks set to be converted into flats after failing to attract a buyer.
Howard and Helen Fradley put the Castle Hotel in Downham Market up for sale in January 2016.
The couple, who had run the 12-bedroom establishment on the town's High Sreet for 28 years, said they wanted to retire.
But three years later, they have not received any offers - despite dropping the price from £545,000 to £475,000.
So the Fradleys have put in a planning application to convert the distinctive building, parts of which date back to the 17th Century, into flats.
The application proposes converting the main building into six flats, a single storey brew house into a one-bedroom bungalow and extending it to create an extra property.
The application adds: "The applicant is devastated that he has not been able to sell the hotel as a going concern, having put his life and soul into making the hotel a success.
"However, at 64 and now with health issues, the applicant has been advised by his doctor to retire, so has no option but to close the hotel on March 30, which coincides with the end of the financial year."
Downham Market Town Council has recommended the borough refuse the plans, saying loss of the hotel would "adversely affect the vitality and viability" the town centre.
But a report to councillors says the Castle is not the last hotel in Downham. It adds the hotel has not been viable for some time.
It goes on: "Whilst the concerns of the town council are noted, the applicant has demonstrated a lengthy but unsuccessful marketing exercise to sell the premises as a going concern, and the closure of the hotel is imminent.
"The loss of the hotel would not be so significant upon
the overall stock of accommodation offered to visitors, public houses and restaurants in this locality as to warrant a reason for refusal."
West Norfolk councillors have been recommended to approve the plans when they meet on Monday.