Hotel expansion plan rejected amid fears of environmental damage

PUBLISHED: 06:24 20 August 2018

Premier Inn.

Premier Inn.

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Plans to increase the size of a Premier Inn hotel have been turned down by the council.

The hotel giant wanted to extend its Winscombe building, adding more bedrooms and in turn creating extra jobs.

However, North Somerset Council has refused to grant planning permission for the venture.

Premier Inn, as part of its application, said six jobs would have been available had the application been approved.

The two-storey extension would have seen a further 14 bedrooms added to the hotel in Bridgwater Road. The site is also home to a Brewers Fayre restaurant, as in Weston.

But the hotel is in an area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB), within the Mendips, and was therefore refused permission to extend by council planners who feared about the impact it would have.

A Premier Inn spokesman, addressing the council ahead of the decision, said: “The existing hotel successfully accommodated both tourists and business travellers in the area, supporting the tourism economy in the countryside and AONB.

“Demand from these groups continues to increase which has the potential to benefit the local community through increased visitor spending.

“Extending the existing Premier Inn is a highly sustainable way of increasing hotel provision to meet demand in the area.

“The Premier Inn was permitted in this location on the basis that it did not harm either the local environment, or businesses in the local centres.”

But despite full support from Winscombe and Sandford Parish Council, planning officers at North Somerset rejected the application.

North Somerset Council’s planning report said: “The proposed extension due to its size, siting, design, scale, materials, loss of trees and elevated walkways would unacceptably harm the character of the Mendip Hills AONB, the character of the area and the character of the original building.

“Protected trees are proposed to be removed and insufficient information has been submitted to allow a full assessment of the impact of the proposals on remaining trees and, in the absence of details to the contrary, the proposal is considered likely to result in the loss of trees to the detriment of the character and biodiversity value of the area.”

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