Two members of the Lake District National Park Authority have been publicly thanked by Keswick councillors for voting against plans to build a Premier Inn hotel in the town.
Chairman Geoff Davies and Nicky Cockbain were the only people on the Kendal-based authority’s development control committee who opposed the controversial 71-bedroom hotel, all eight others voting to support it.
That was despite Keswick’s 12 councillors having voted unanimously for the town council to object to the planning application, which had also been opposed by a 3,300-name petition and by 136 people who wrote letters against it.
David Burn, Keswick’s deputy mayor, had spoken against the hotel plan via an online link when the committee debated it earlier this month.
Speaking at last week’s town council meeting, Mr Burn said: “The committee displayed a complete lack of common sense and flagrant disregard of local knowledge and concern about the application and site.
“It will come back to bite them at some stage.”
The £6 million Premier Inn hotel is to be built on the vacant site of the former Ravensfield residential home in High Hill.
It is expected to be open for guests in the spring or summer of 2022.
Mr Burn said Mr Davies and Ms Cockbain both knew Keswick and the site and had been right to go against the planning officer’s recommendation that the plan be approved.
“I thank Geoff and Nicky for their support,” he said at the last virtual town council meeting.
Tony Lywood is a member of the LDNPA but not on the committee which backed the hotel plan.
The Keswick town councillor warned that changes to national park authorities being proposed in the Glover report meant that local people like Mr Davies, Ms Cockbain and him would be replaced by “government appointees”, leaving “no-one to stand up for the locality.”
He added: “That is what we are looking at— a complete defrocking and castration of local democracy in the (national park) planning process.”
Ms Cockbain had said the hotel’s total of 29 parking spaces was inadequate, while concerns were also expressed about it being an overdevelopment of the site. Brewery giant Whitbread, which owns Premier Inn, says the new hotel will bring 30 jobs and £1.8 million a year additional spend to Keswick and the surrounding area from its guests.