PLANS to add extra rooms to a hotel have taken a step forward after a council agreed to sell the land for the extension.
Premier Inn wants to build an additional 36 bedrooms at its site off Forest Way, in Gosport, which already has 63 rooms.
This is a great news story for us and something we have wanted to achieve for a long time.Cllr Peter Edgar
The land needed for the extension is owned by Gosport Borough Council but leased to Places for People, which runs Gosport Leisure Centre next-door to the hotel.
A decision made last night by the council’s economic development board will see Premier Inn buy the freehold of the land for £300,000.
Council leader Mark Hook said: ‘When we were marketing the site a few years ago, there were people who said a hotel would not survive and how wrong they were.
‘This is a success story not just because of the hotel but because of that area with the leisure centre which is also doing extremely well.
‘It is no surprise Premier Inn wants to increase its space.’
Cllr Hook added a second hotel has also been in touch about moving into the town due to the success of Premier Inn.
Since opening in 2013, the hotel has had an 87 per cent occupancy rate – one of the chain’s highest across the country.
The extension plan also includes 36 new parking spaces which will be added to the current car park.
Member of the board Councillor Peter Edgar welcomed the extension. He said: ‘Premier Inn has done extremely well to need an extension. This is a great news story for us and something we have wanted to achieve for a long time.’
During the meeting Labour councillor June Cully asked whether a lease agreement could be an option for the land rather than a one-off payment of £300,000.
She said it would secure yearly income for the council.
But chief executive Ian Lycett said that although it was preferable for the council to have a lease, Premier Inn wanted to buy the land.
He also said it would be the easier option rather than having some of the land used by the hotel leased and other parts of the site owned by Premier Inn.
A full planning application can now be submitted for the proposed extension.