Significantly redesigned hotel builds on feedback from local community and stakeholders
Revised plans for the proposed 71-bedroom Premier Inn hotel on High Hill in Keswick have been submitted to the Lake District National Park Authority this week (w/c 3rd August).
The revised designs, which build on feedback from the community, local stakeholders and planning officers at the National Park, are for a lower and more architecturally sophisticated hotel building on the site of the former Ravensfield residential care home on High Hill.
Development company Premcor, which owns the site and is bringing forward the development with Premier Inn, is proposing to invest more than £6 million in the new hotel if planning permission is granted later this year.
Simon Hawkins, Director at Darlington based Premcor, said: “Our goal at High Hill is to create an attractive new hotel building that responds to the constraints of the site, suits its context and can be operated successfully by Premier Inn. Since submission of the initial planning application in March, we have acted on further comments and feedback from the community and local stakeholders on the design of the building.
“The new proposed building is lower at the front and back, has a new roof design, fresh elevations and makes use of a greater variety of materials including sections of Lakeland stone. It’s a significantly improved design that reflects the feedback we have received, connects with its environment and will create an excellent entrance into Keswick in my view.”
Architects, The Harris Partnership have evolved the design of the proposed hotel following the initial submission. The updated plans include:
- Lowering the roof ridge height of the front and rear elevation;
- Reducing the scale of the building to three storeys’ throughout;
- Significantly re-designing the roof details to lower the height building;
- Revising the elevations to reduce the overall scale and ‘mass’ of the building;
- Introducing a greater mix of materials including sections of Lakeland stone, render, slate and sections of metal seam cladding;
- Redesigning the on-site car park to add an additional Wheelchair Accessible space and improving the turning circle for guest vehicles
The proposed new hotel building remains at the front of the site facing onto High Hill with Premier Inn’s in-house restaurant providing an active frontage onto the road. The hotel bedrooms are located above and to the rear of the new ‘T-shaped’ building with 29 on-site car parking spaces located behind the hotel building to the rear of the site.
Simon continued: “Residents understandably want the development of the former nursing home site to play a positive role in Keswick’s future. I believe a new hotel will do so by bringing the heavily constrained site back into long-term use, cater for the growing demand for overnight accommodation in Keswick and provide year-round jobs. It’s a positive use for a site which is so close to the town centre and cannot be developed for new homes due to restrictive planning policies preventing residential development on the site due to the risk of flood.”
Premier Inn currently has five hotels in towns around the Lake District National Park (at Cockermouth, Kendal, Penrith, Ulverston and Whitehaven). Whitbread, Premier Inn’s parent company, has been searching for an appropriate site in Keswick for many years as it responds to high demand for rooms from family guests and leisure / active travellers.
The company is predicting 44,000 overnight stays per year at the Keswick Premier Inn, with guests of the hotel expected to generate close to £2 million per year of total tourism expenditure in the local economy. Approximately 30 new permanent jobs are also expected to be created at the hotel with recruitment targeted in Keswick and the wider Lake District area.
Kevin Murray, head of acquisitions at Premier Inn for the north of England and Ireland, added: “Bringing a new Premier Inn to High Hill will provide a new type of accommodation offer in Keswick. Our style of accommodation serves a different market compared to the well-run guest houses and B&Bs in the town. We also find that our ‘light touch’ offer supports the local economy as many of our customers go out to eat, drink, visit attractions, do activities, and generally enjoy the local area when they stay with us. We have an excellent opportunity to invest in Keswick for the long-term and we believe our proposed hotel, and the job opportunities we will create, will bring many benefits for the town and wider area.”
In 2018 more than 6 million overnight visitors experienced the Lake District National Park according to data provided by Cumbria Tourism – contributing to £3bn in visitor spend and supporting more than 37,000 full-time equivalent jobs.
The Lake District National Park’s Development Control Committee is expected to decide on Premcor’s application at High Hill in Keswick later this year. A summary of the new hotel design can be found online at www.premierinnkeswick.co.uk.