Colchester: Planners recommend 85-bedroom Premier Inn is approved for St Peter’s Street

CONTROVERSIAL proposals for a new hotel in Colchester are set to be approved next week.

Planners are recommending a scheme to put a 85-bedroom Premier Inn hotel in St Peter’s Street be given the green light.

That is despite 76 objections being lodged against the plans. They include concerns that the hotel is being built in a predominately residential area; that the building - at between three-and-a-half and five storeys - will be too high; and that it will create additional traffic congestion.

But a report that will go before members of Colchester Borough Council’s planning committee on Friday, September 27, reads: “These issues are looked at in detail and it is concluded that the principle is acceptable in line with adopted council policies on tourism.

“The design is held to be of a high enough standard for this location and does not impact on the conservation area or Castle Park to the degree which has been claimed.

“It is accepted that, despite claims to the contrary, there will be some increase in traffic movement. The parking provision is held to be sufficient for a hotel in this location.”

The scheme proposes demolishing Colnebank House and building the hotel in its place, complete with a bar and restaurant and 44 parking spaces.

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An earlier bid to put a seven-storey hotel on the site was refused on April 14, 2010.

Planners, in recommending the hotel is approved, point to a assessment it commissioned that said there was a shortfall of hotel space in Colchester.

The assessment read: “Overall, and on the basis on our previous analysis, we do believe that Colchester could support another say 50 to 100 budget room in the short term.

“Furthermore budget hotels can often stimulate demand or accommodate people who before may have not considered staying in a hotel. Budget hotels are also increasingly seen as an affordable alternative to staying with friends.”

John Bates, head of acquisitions for Whitbread Hotels and Restaurants, said: “Premier Inn is the UK’s leading hotel chain and we are expanding across the country as we respond to strong demand for our high quality, affordable product and our customers’ desire for more Premier Inn bedrooms in the best locations.

“We currently have 49,000 Premier Inn bedrooms across the UK and we are on course to hit our target of 65,000 bedrooms by 2016 – creating many thousands of jobs and delivering wider economic benefits in the process.

“The East of England is a key market for us and this new development means we can provide our customers with even more great locations across the region.

“Not only is this good news for our customers, but Colchester will benefit too as our investment will create jobs and help to attract additional visitors to the area.”