Hotel owner fears new Premier Inn will ‘spoil fabric’ of Hitchin

A Premier Inn is set to open in Hitchin next July.

A Premier Inn is set to open in Hitchin next July. - Credit: Archant

A national hotel chain is coming to Hitchin next summer causing concern from an existing hotelier.

A 60-bedroom Premier Inn is due to open in July 2014 at the old Post Office delivery site between Hermitage Road and Portmill Lane.

Josie Raviele and her husband Nick, owners of the Lister Hotel on Park Street, near to Portmill Lane, fear the new enterprise would force long-standing Hitchin businesses to close.

She said: “I’m worried like everyone else. Hitchin is a lovely old town and it’ll spoil its fabric. I’m very disappointed.

“It’s going to put a strain on businesses here and I think some may close because of it. We’re a small, family-run hotel and are concerned.

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“It’s such a shame they have decided to come to the centre of Hitchin. I always thought they opened out of towns, not in the middle of them.”

Listed as a ‘town centre hotel’ on the Premier Inn website, it encourages visitors to ‘soak up the atmosphere of a historic English market town’, and says it is in ‘just the right place to explore the quaint town centre’.

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The website adds: “If you’re travelling to Knebworth to see a show, you’ll be pleased to know we’re only 10 miles down the road.”

Richard Pearson, Acquisitions Manager for Whitbread Hotels, owners of Premier Inn, said: “Work is progressing well on our new 60-bedroom Premier Inn in Hitchin. As well as delivering high-quality accommodation for the town, it will also create approximately 30 new jobs for the local area and provide £3.5 million of fresh investment. We have started to take bookings for our new hotel and look forward to opening our doors to our customers from next summer.

“We’re hoping we can play our part in supporting the local economy and providing accommodation for people visiting local events like Rhythms of the World in the future.”

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