Keswick’s first Premier Inn is set to open an 80-bed hotel before Christmas

Work is well underway to build a controversial Premier Inn in Keswick, with hopes it will open before Christmas despite continued opposition from residents to the scheme.

Construction of the 80-room hotel in High Hill near the city center has been taking more than six months now and builders say it is on track to open before Christmas. The hotel sits on the old Ravensfield retirement home in the town and is within walking distance of the town centre.

A Premier Inn spokesperson has confirmed work is well underway and the framework for the new 80-room hotel is now complete. Permission for the hotel was granted by the Lake District National Park Authority in October 2020 despite a targeted public campaign, which was backed by Keswick Town Council against its prosecution.

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A Premier Inn spokesperson said: “We continue to make good progress with the construction of the new Keswick Premier Inn. The framework for the new 80-bedroom hotel is now complete and the construction team are now working to convert the bare structure into a the latest generation Premier Inn.

“The team will be furnishing the guest rooms, installing the windows and adding the much-needed plant over the next few weeks. The stonework on the exterior walls will also start to be installed shortly We still have some way to go before we are ready to welcome our first guests but we remain on track to open the hotel before the end of the year is fine.

“It will be a defining moment for us when we do and we are really looking forward to being part of the community, employing locally and helping to support Keswick throughout the year.”

When plans for the new hotel were first revealed, a petition was started because naysayers claimed the new building did not fit the theme of the Lake District town. It didn’t take long for the petition to garner thousands of signatures.

It is on track to open before Christmas

People who oppose the plans express the following concerns about their petition website:

  • Changing Keswick’s heritage – a town built on tourism over centuries by independent and hardworking business owners, including shops, bed and breakfasts, hotels, hotel suppliers and other professionals .

  • Pushing the city’s infrastructure to its limits – causing unnecessary congestion in the city, putting a strain on the access road and the city’s utilities, especially the sewage system.

  • Lack of parking spaces – construction of a new building with not enough parking spaces on site to cover the needs of hotel and restaurant guests and staff.

  • Over-development of the site – construction which towers over neighboring buildings and blocks views of Skiddaw from the famous Cumbrian Way/Howrah footpath.

  • Using “30 more jobs” – as an incentive to get planning permission, when Keswick has no unemployment and struggles to fill existing jobs.

Darlington-based Premcor is investing £6 million in the creation of the new Premier Inn which they believe will provide long-term positive new use for the site, create 30 permanent jobs and help the economy for visitors throughout of the year.

A list of benefits investors say the Premier Inn will bring include:

  • £6m investment to redevelop site in need of investment and active new use
  • Around £1.8m/yr spent by Premier Inn guest visitors
  • 30 new open-ended contracts at the opening with targeted local recruitment
  • Approximately 60 FTE jobs created during construction
  • Bringing in a new type of accommodation for the night that is not currently available in Keswick

About Angelita A. Blanchard

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