“We can be flexible on the design” – says Premier Inn

Ben Fox
Ben Fox

Premier Inn’s proposals for investing £5.2 million in a new hotel in Ashburton which will create 30 new jobs and bring a major boost to the National Park and its economy are heading to Dartmoor National Park Authority’s Development Control Committee today (4th October) with Whitbread saying: “We can be flexible on the design”.

The proposals for a new 80-bedroom Premier Inn hotel at Dolbeare Business Park were submitted earlier this summer and would deliver a substantial series of benefits to Ashburton and to the National Park, as evidenced by a detailed Economic Impact Assessment submitted with the application.

The DNPA’s case officer, however, has written a report on the application which recommends it for refusal on the basis of its design and its scale.

Whitbread is highlighting:

On scale: that the proposed Premier Inn is an equivalent size and scale to the office development which was proposed on the same site and approved by DNPA (and which has stalled due to lack of demand).

On design: that architectural design styles and preferences are subjective and, if the case officer does not like the proposed design, then Premier Inn can straightforwardly switch to an alternative one which meets the case officer’s preference.  Premier Inn has already submitted two alternative design options (a traditional style and a more contemporary style) to show how it can be flexible on the design approach.

Paul Smith, Acquisition Manager at Premier Inn, said: “We’re clear that investing £5.2 million into Ashburton and the National Park to build a new Premier Inn here can deliver a boost for the town, support efforts to grow sustainable tourism in the National Park, and create 30 new jobs.

‘We’ve been working on the proposals for two years so it’s disappointing to think that the opportunity could be lost because of a difference of opinion on architectural design styles.  We have flexibility on the design and are willing to work constructively on a solution which does not jeopardise the whole investment opportunity because of an easily-resolved difference of opinion on how the building should look.”

The planning application is scheduled to be discussed at a meeting of the Development Control Committee this today (4th October).  The application is currently recommended for refusal by the case officer.

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