Plans revealed for St Albans Premier Inn project

OVER 43,000 visitors a year are expected at the new planned budget hotel in St Albans city centre if proposals to open on St Peter’s Street get the go-ahead.

Premier Inns submitted planning application for a hotel comprising a retail unit and a new budget hotel with a gym includes the artist’s impression of the 125-bedroom hotel and reveals there will be no on-site parking.

The backs of the former McDonald’s restaurant site and neighbouring premises will be demolished but the frontages, which are locally listed, would be retained.

Rising four or five storeys above the ground, the hotel was welcomed by businesses at the north end of St Peters in last week’s Herts Advertiser.

Councillors and shop owners said the hotel could be the first step towards regenerating the area and provide a much-needed boost to businesses in that part of town.

The proposals anticipate that the majority of guests will be using public transport to get to the hotel and those who do drive will have their pick of multi-storey car parks nearby.

Drovers Way, the closest car park to the proposed location, is at 30 per cent capacity in the evening when the company envisages it would be most needed by gym users and guests needing to park. Guest parking spaces will not, according to the initial application, be reserved in existing multi-storey car parks.

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The site, which the Herts Advertiser revealed three years ago had been identified as a possible location for a budget hotel, has suffered the most from the retail downturn.

A cross-party working party group set up by the council and given the task of looking at measures to support businesses there and those along Catherine Street and Hatfield Road, have provided further good news to businesses.

In an announcement this week, they revealed they hoped to make 20 free one-hour parking spaces available in the vicinity, five more than they had initially hoped, to improve footfall in the area.

Cllr Beric Read, portfolio holder for community engagement and localism, said: “We wish to assist retailers to the north of St Peter’s Street, in Catherine Street and in Hatfield Road and hope that these new free one-hour parking spaces will encourage people to pop into this part of the city centre more often, to shop and do business.”

The new spaces will be on Etna Road, St Peter’s Street and Upper Marlborough Road. Others will also be available on Adelaide Street in the licence-holders car park.