Ambleside divided about Premier Inn plans

Owners of the Spar shop in Ambleside make their feelings clear Credit: ITV Border

Hotel chain Premier Inn says it has listened to concerns in Ambleside over its plans to build a new hotel on an old University of Cumbria site.

It says it is reviewing the design of the building after locals complained it would spoil the look and feel of the Lake District town.

But Premier Inn says there are 1500 rooms in Ambleside but it is visited by 15 million tourists a year so the area needs more beds.

It says its site in Kendal hasn't taken business from B&Bs because the local market is growing - up 100 rooms in 2 years.

It says it'll bring 30 year-round jobs and it's listened to 300 local people in a recent consultation. It's now designing a building that's in keeping with the area, with the help of the National Park.

But Ambleside already has a very low unemployment rate. Some of the bigger businesses actively recruit from abroad because they cannot find enough workers from the local population.

The Premier Inn would be built at Hill Top on the University of Cumbria's Ambleside campus. The sale would raise the money the University needs to build student accommodation for the hundreds of students who start their degrees there in September.

But some locals are concerned, saying it would be better if the University could find the money to build on Hill Top (a brownfield site) itself, rather than building new accommodation on a greenfield site.

Premier Inn's consultation ends on 18th April.