Letchworth trader fears Premier Inn hotel will place parking burden on town

An impression of what the new Premier Inn building will look like.

An impression of what the new Premier Inn building will look like. - Credit: Archant

A Letchworth trader feels the approved plans to bring a Premier Inn hotel to Letchworth will place a parking burden on town centre traders and shoppers.

North Herts District Council gave the proposal for a 57-bedroom hotel on Station Road the green light last week, despite several responses in the consultation pointing out that Letchworth’s current level of parking could be an issue.

The hoteliers believe that due to the hotel’s close proximity to the railway station, a large number of their customers will be using public transport – while those with cars will be leaving outside of core business hours.

Future customers have been pointed in the direction of The Wynd car park – which is behind the hotel – much to the dismay of Jenny Jones, who owns the Greenhouse Community Market a few doors down in Station Road.

“I am struggling to work out how this Premier Inn is good for The Wynd,” she said.

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“There are 77 parking spaces required for staff and guests, so where do the Wynd shops’ customers park now? This car park is already full on Saturdays.

“Has the district council thought this through at all?

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“So local people will arrive to go shopping to find guests have not left before 9am as Premier Inn has suggested they will – and the car park is full.

“Premier Inn also state in their proposals that their clients will come by public transport and won’t have cars – absolute tosh.

“Two local independent businesses demolished into the bargain – utter, short-sighted madness and the district council should have a duty of care to do a report on whether there is sufficient parking for any new business before they allow one to be built which might have a negative impact on existing businesses.

“There are plenty of sites for a hotel in the industrial area, like the Premier Inn in Stevenage.”

Councillor David Levett, who is responsible for planning at the district council, said: “Planning officers have been working closely with the Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation on a temporary planning permission to provide 44 car parking spaces located adjacent to the site in The Wynd for the use of the hotel.”

The planning application prepared in support of the scheme before it was approved states that The Wynd car park has ‘significant capacity for overnight parking’.

Premier Inn were approached for comment by the Comet, but they did not respond with a statement before we went to press.

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