Hotel set to open after refurbishment

A hotel boarded up six months ago could open in a matter of weeks following a complete refurbishment.

Rebecca Gough

A hotel boarded up six months ago could open in a matter of weeks following a complete refurbishment.

Owners of the Thomas Paine Hotel in Thetford are currently working to give the interior a luxurious feel, while maintaining its original 17th century features.

All eight bedrooms are set to be individually decorated and downstairs people will have the choice to eat in an 18-seat fine-dining setting, or a 40-seat less formal restaurant, designed in a colonial style. These and a bar will be open to the public.

The �100,000 project is the brainchild of owners Kevin Peters and his partner Jeannie Moye who also own The Pheasant in Kelling, near Holt.

Ms Moye, 54, who lives with Mr Peters near Ely, said: “We're trying to give Thetford something special and something of quality because there's nothing like that in the town.

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“I think previously there was no real investment in the place and no real love so we're trying to put some of that back. “We've tried to source as much as we can locally.”

The hotel, which was originally four Victorian cottages and is reportedly the birth place of Thomas Paine, closed it doors in February this year when manager Kevin Peters blamed a downturn in trade. But work by his brother David, and Ms Moye is about two thirds complete and the hope is to open in about six weeks. Bedrooms are in the process of being painted, furniture is arriving and the bar is being finished. Downstairs, as well as the restaurants and bar, there will be a function room for 40 people and a residents' lounge.

The work has brought about its own serious of surprises, however, including a pink and white stained glass window, uncovered from behind a laundry cupboard and a set of items from the last refurbishment in 1990 which were secured in a wall cavity behind one of the showers.

Mr Peters, 58, said: “We've encountered a lot of things along the way and everything was at that stage where it needed sorting out and we've replaced the plumbing and the electricity.

“I think part of what happened here previously was that it was trying to attract a pub trade and that didn't work. We do want to differentiate between the pub market and what we offer.”

Manager Candy Bine added: “I think it's absolutely fantastic. If this didn't open there would be such a part of Thetford's history that would be lost. I think there's a need for it in Thetford.”