Uncertain future for boarded-up hotel

The Woodlands Hotel and Indian Restaurant, in Coupals Road, Sturmer, is now boarded up. Picture: Steve Barton
The Woodlands Hotel and Indian Restaurant, in Coupals Road, Sturmer, is now boarded up. Picture: Steve Barton

Another well-known business that served the people of Haverhill now stands empty and boarded up and facing an uncertain future after the closure of the Woodlands Hotel and Indian Restaurant.

Although the building in Coupals Road sits inside the parish of Sturmer, it has for decades been, in real terms, part of the landscape of Haverhill.

At the end of February St Edmundsbury Borough Council, which owns the 13-bedroom hotel and restaurant and the surrounding five acres of woodlands, took possession of the site after the previous tenant, who for a decade had traded there as a hotel and Indian restaurant, fell behind with the rent.

A spokesman for St Edmundsbury Council was unable to confirm the amount of unpaid rent, but said: “The council has sought possession of the site through the courts due to a substantial level of unpaid rent.

“Our immediate priority has been to make sure that the site is safe and secure.

“We are now reviewing our options for the future use of the site.

“We understand that there was a number of occupiers in the property who left before we took possession.”

The spokesman added that the building had been in possession of a council since October 1970 (when it was trading as a hotel).

Woodlands had originally been a private house belonging to the Gurteen family.

In 1974 it transferred from the ownership of Haverhill Urban District Council, which had ceased to exist after the Local Government Act 1972, to the newly formed St Edmundsbury Borough Council.

With the building now boarded up and part of its car park blocked by concrete barriers, Paul Donno, chairman of the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce in Haverhill & District, said the organisation was disappointed to see another business closed.

He added: “Having lived in the town for nearly 50 years, that building has never reached its full potential.

“In my opinion it would make an ideal hotel or country club, being adjacent to the (Haverhill) golf club.

“I would like to think someone would look at it along those lines. It’s a brilliant location with fantastic potential.”

The Echo was unable to track down the former tenants of the site for comment.