HOME owners in Ambleside have voiced their worries at a public consultation over plans for a new £5 million budget hotel in the Lake District town.
People packed out the town’s parish centre as hotel chain Premier Inn showcased its proposed 64-bedroom hotel in The Struggle, a former Cum-bria University property.
A developer from Stoford Developments and a manage-ment team from Premier Inn were on hand to answer any questions about the scheme.
Helen Minton, who lives on Birch Road, branded the plan ‘ludicrous’.
She said: “Ambleside does not need any help in attracting people to the area – we do very well without a Premier Inn.
“We are not nimbies – I am all for a Sainsbury’s in Ambleside, as are a lot of people. We do and can embrace change. I like Premier Inn but it is ludicrous to have it here – it does not belong in Ambleside.”
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The main concern from the public was the increased traffic on an already dangerous road.
William Logan, who lives on Kirkfield Rise, said: “In the bad weather there have been many times where my car and others have been stuck up that road. How are they going to cope with that?”
Tony Nash, of Stoford Developments, wanted to reassure residents that added traffic would not be a huge problem.
He said research had shown a predicted ‘three to four per cent increase’ in traffic from guests at the hotel.
Tim Brown, of Sweden Bridge Lane, was also against the plan.
He said: “The is a conservation area and a Premier Inn will just not fit in. I am retired, I moved here like a lot of my neighbours to live in peace and quiet – this will disrupt my peace.”
Nick Johnston, acquisition manager for Whitbread Hotels and Restaurants, leading the redevelopment of the site, said: “There are a lot of positives to this development, including 30 new jobs.
“I know that bed and breakfast owners are worried about losing business but we want to reassure people that this is not what Premier Inn wants to do. We are catering for a different clientele and are more expensive than some accommodation in the area.
“If we are full we will ring around the area and make sure we direct our customers to bed and breakfasts in Ambleside.”
The next step for the company is to submit a full planning application to the Lake District National Park Authority.
People can still have their say by visiting the website www.premierinnambleside.co.uk