A hotel group had not planned to sell a famous Suffolk pier, which had not been struggling financially, but decided to do so after being approached by a couple last year.

Earlier this week, this newspaper revealed that Curious Pier Limited, part of the Gough Hotels group, had sold Southwold Pier to husband and wife duo Charles and Amy Barwick for an undisclosed sum, with the new owners taking over on Monday.

However, a spokesperson for Gough Hotels said the pier had not been on the market and the decision to sell was only made after the couple approached the pier owner last year offering an amount that was deemed to be "fair".

READ MORE: Southwold Pier sold to new owner for undisclosed fee

She said the firm, which also owns the Angel Hotel in Bury St Edmunds and Salthouse Harbour Hotel on Ipswich Waterfront, wanted to focus on investing in the hotel side of the business.

"As a business, long-term, we are just going to focus on our hotel strategy and our rooms there," the spokesperson added.

She revealed the 33 staff at the pier had known about the takeover 'for quite a while' and would all be transferred to work for the new owners, who plan to run the pier as 'business as usual' this year after refurbishing the interior and exterior.

READ MORE: Family's Easter Southwold trip 'ruined' by £100 parking fine

East Anglian Daily Times: Robert Gough, from Gough HotelsRobert Gough, from Gough Hotels (Image: Newsquest)Earlier this week, Mrs Barwick said: “Charles and I are so excited to become the new custodians of the pier and we look forward to running it alongside the fabulous team we’ve inherited, for many years to come.”

Mr Barwick added: “We are looking at an initial light refurbishment in places, but this will be phased, as we plan to keep the other areas open to the public as we go.

"We have great plans to invest in the pier and its facilities and we’ll update our progress on to the website, so visitors will know what’s open before they arrive."

East Anglian Daily Times: Amy and Charles Barwick, Southwold Pier's new ownersAmy and Charles Barwick, Southwold Pier's new owners (Image: Southwold Pier)

The 810ft-long pier in Southwold was first opened in 1900 and originally used as a landing platform for the Belle steamships. 

In 2005, it was bought by husband and wife Stephen and Antonia Bournes, who managed it as a family-run business. 

The couple then sold the landmark to Gough Hotels in 2013.