Hotel operators’ delight at St Albans sites approval

THE developers behind two hotel schemes approved this week in St Albans have said they are “grateful” for the district council’s backing and cannot wait to start building.

Premier Inns was on Wednesday, October 17, given the go-ahead for the demolition of buildings at 71-75 St Peter’s Street, except the fa�ade, paving the way for a four-storey 123-bedroom hotel.

Permission was also given for the Hilton Hotel scheme - a 150-bed hotel, conference and function centre in Chiswell Green, on the Noke roundabout.

St Albans district council’s planning referrals committee approved both schemes, with the hope that they will be a fillip for the local tourism sector.

Commenting on the approval for the Premier Inn budget hotel Richard Pearson, acquisition manager for Whitbread Hotels and Restaurants, said: “From the outset we have said that a Premier Inn hotel and restaurant will kick-start the regeneration of St Peter’s Street.

“The hotel will attract people to stay in St Albans town centre and help to support local businesses.

“With planning permission now secured, we can get on and start delivering these benefits at the same time as adding another fantastic location for our customers.”

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He added: “Our investment will create approximately 45 new jobs on opening as well as supporting local employment in construction and supplier businesses.

“The hotel will deliver a shot in the arm for the St Albans economy and I can’t wait to get the scheme built, the doors open and to start contributing to a modern and successful St Albans.”

Because the Hilton Hotel proposal is centred on a Green Belt location, at Copsewood, the council has to inform the Secretary of State about the scheme, to see if it should be called-in.

However David Lane, of DLA Town Planning, which submitted the planning application for the Hilton Hotel on behalf of Pegasus Ltd, said the Secretary of State only calls in less than 100 applications out of tens of thousands which are submitted each year.

He added: “We hope common sense will prevail, and the wishes of the council for the development to proceed are taken into consideration.

“I’m very pleased all our hard work with the council’s planning officers has borne fruit. We were pleasantly surprised we got approval, and very grateful to council.

“We look forward to the hotel opening its doors as soon as possible.”