A BUDGET hotel chain has been given the go-ahead despite fierce opposition from local hoteliers.
Travelodge’s plans for a 61-bedroom property won overwhelming support from councillors, but hoteliers claim the budget offering could force them out of business.
The national chain now plans to have the hotel, above Marks and Spencer, on Clifton Drive South, St Annes, up and running in time for Christmas.
Members of the Holiday Association of Lytham St Annes (HALSA) packed the public gallery at yesterday’s Fylde Council planning meeting and displayed banners urging councillors to “say no to Travelodge”.
But Coun Howard Henshaw said: “Personally I feel the concerns of HALSA are somewhat exaggerated.
“This application is not a huge hotel complex, it’s a 61-bedroom budget hotel. The closure of Pontins – which had 750 chalets – is likely to counteract this application far more than HALSA say.”
Councillors also debated concerns about the town’s crippling car-parking problems, but ultimately decided a new Travelodge would benefit the town.
Coun Fabian Craig-Wilson said: “One of the major draw-backs to the scheme is traffic.
“I’ve nothing against Travelodge, I think it works very well in city locations but we’re a costal town and I really have deep concerns.”
As part of the new development the entrance and exit to the Marks and Spencer carpark will be reversed in a bid to ease queuing traffic on Clifton Drive South, and Travelodge plan to direct customers to nearby council carparks.
And Coun Kiran Mulholland said: “At the end of the day it’s a town centre location.
“We think we’ve got problems with traffic – go to Preston.
“People who drive cars know what to expect if they’re going to a Travelodge in the town centre.”
Speaking after the meeting, HALSA’s president Paul Rollings said: “I was annoyed they didn’t consider what’s going to happen to other hotels.
“Business is hard as it is, small hotels and B&Bs might close.
“If business is booming no problem at all, but it’s a very difficult economic climate.”