The £6 million Premier Inn hotel which is to open in Keswick will not flood the local tourism market with cheap, cut-price accommodation, its spokesman insists.
Instead, the average price for an overnight stay will be around £100, according to James Anderson, property communications manager at Whitbread, which owns the national hotel chain.
“It is not a £49 room market,” said Mr Anderson, who added that guests at Premier Inns in central London were paying around £200 a night.
Independent B&B, guesthouse and hotel owners in Keswick were among those who had opposed the controversial plan which was given the go-ahead earlier this month by the Lake District National Park Authority (LDNPA).
Others who backed a 3,300-name petition objected to a lack of car parking and overdevelopment of the site.
The 71-bedroom Premier Inn hotel with restaurant and bar will be built on the site of the former Ravenscroft care home, with the first guests due to be welcomed in spring or summer 2022.
The T-shaped three-storey building will have 29 on-site parking spaces for staff and guests.
Keswick’s deputy mayor David Burn said the eight to two vote in favour of the plan by the LDNPA’s development control committee was disappointing after he had addressed it on behalf of the town council, which had opposed it.
“But given the applicants had been in discussions with the LDNPA for some time, (it was) not unexpected,” said Mr Burn.
Committee member Mark Kidd, who proposed that the plan be approved, had asked Mr Anderson about the cost of rooms at the new hotel.
Mr Anderson replied: “About £100 or so a night,” adding: “We are not seeking to flood the market with under-priced or low-priced rooms. I can’t see that happening due to demand for bedrooms at the (Keswick) hotel throughout the year. It is not a £49 room market.”
He said Whitbread had been seeking to invest in Keswick as thousands of would-be guests searched online for a local Premier Inn and he claimed the new one would “complement and broaden accommodation in Keswick”.
He added that the nearest Premier Inns had 80 per cent occupancy and that the average stay was two nights. “There is consistently high year-round demand,” he added.
Details of parking charges and the possible use of automated cart registration plate recognition at the hotel have yet to be confirmed. It will have a slate roof and its bedrooms will be on the first and second floors.
The plan had been recommended for approval by LDNPA officers, with Kevin Richards saying: “The benefit outweighs the identified harm.”
He added: “We have found the parking arrangements to be acceptable.”
Thirty jobs will be created at the new hotel, but Mr Burn said unemployment was “almost non-existent in Keswick in normal (non-coronavirus) time.
He added: “Keswick has a chronic parking problem.”