Penrith hoteliers fight Premier Inn plan

Hoteliers in Penrith are up in arms about plans for Sainsbury's to build a Premier Inn on land leased from the council.

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Council considers New Squares proposal

Members of the public are being asked for their views on controversial plans to build a new hotel and petrol station in the centre of Penrith.

It would be part of the New Squares shopping development.

The land had been set aside for extra shops and homes. But the developer Sainsbury's believes there is no longer enough demand and wants to alter those plans. At a council meeting last night concerns were raised by other businesses in the town.

Penrith plans to be decided tonight

There will be some heated debate tonight as councillors consider a controversial plan for a new hotel in Penrith.

Sainsbury's want to build a new Premier Inn, along with a petrol station, on land leased from Eden District Council.

The town's hoteliers say they're not frightened of competition, but they say the new hotel is not needed.

Fiona Marley Paterson reports.


Premier Inn respond to planning criticism

Earlier local hoteliers had expressed worry regarding the plans to build a new Premier Inn in Penrith.

A spokesman from Premier Inn has responded:

“Eden District Council identified an opportunity for a new hotel as part its Penrith Town Centre Masterplan some time ago. Now, as part of the next phase of the Masterplan being built out – and following the opening of the Sainsbury’s – we are in advanced discussions with Sainsbury’s and the Council. We’re keen to bring Premier Inn to Penrith, to invest locally, create new jobs and bring more choice to the town. “

Hoteliers response to Premier Inn planning

Opinions have been expressed regarding plans to build a Premier Inn on council leased land.

Local hoteliers are concerned it may put the local economy at risk.

"There's been no data analysis to say that there's a need for these additional bed spaces, and this is what we're questioning with the local council. We're not threatened at all. Competition is competition. Whichever way we look at it - it's like a new restaurant opening up in Penrith - a new hotel opens up, you'll benchmark yourself towards that competition. Obviously it's the saturation that we're bothered about and the amount of people coming into Penrith at the moment and whether we'll get any economic benefit out of that."

– Justin Wales, The George Hotel

However, a member of the council disagrees:

"We've heard views that there is a shortage of hotel accommodation in the Penrith area of a certain type. We don't know whether that's right or not and what we're doing tonight is getting the go-ahead from members to look at it in more detail."

– Councillor Gordon Nicolson, Leader of Eden District Council


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