PLANS for a new seven-storey Premier Inn hotel opposite the Historic Dockyard in Portsmouth have been given the green light.
Councillors on the city council’s planning committee unanimously gave their backing for the £8.8m project at a meeting yesterday.
Derelict buildings on Queen Street at The Hard will be demolished in order to make way for the new development – which is estimated to bring £2m a year into the city’s economy.
The proposed curved design of the 120-bed hotel was praised by councillors although representatives from the nearby Royal Maritime Club questioned the operator’s absence of parking provision.
Councillor Frank Jonas, who chaired the meeting said: ‘We have been crying out for a hotel like this to help with peak times.
We have been crying out for a hotel like this to help with peak timesCouncillor Frank Jonas
‘Given its proximity to the Historic Dockyard, Gunwharf Quays, the station and transport interchange, it really is the ideal location for a hotel.
‘It will enhance that end of The Hard. Portsea is home to new and old buildings and moves with the times. This will be good for the area.’
Liberal Democrat councillor Lee Hunt also praised the proposals, stating: ‘This is a great scheme. I like the curved nature of the building, it looks noble.
‘You can tell that a great deal of work has gone in to reduce the impact it will have on the skyline despite its seven storeys. It will add to the streetscene of The Hard.’
But the plans came under fierce criticism from the Royal Maritime Club with David Nesbit, chairman of the trustees raising fears about parking provision for the hotel’s customers.
He said: ‘It’s very disappointing that the councillors did not look further at the issue of parking. There is a clear requirement for parking in this area which this application does not meet.
‘To say that the existing parking facilities are adequate is naive in the extreme.’
Cllr Jonas said there were parking spaces for customers at nearby Europa House.
John Alderson, the club’s general manager feared the hotel could prove a hazard to accessibility along The Hard with no plans in place for a drop-off space by the entrance on Queen Street.
A restaurant will be built on the hotel’s ground floor and it will provide 117 jobs – with a further 95 created in construction.
Geoff Cook, Premier Inn spokesperson said: ‘Getting the green light to invest in Portsmouth and open a new Premier Inn is great news.
‘We will be holding discussions with our construction partners imminently and a programme of works will be agreed shortly.’