A Devon town which successfully evicted a McDonald’s from its high street now wants to stop Premier Inn locating there.
Residents in Tavistock – dubbed Britain’s ‘angriest town’ – are fuming at plans for a major hotel in the heart of the picturesque town on the edge of the Dartmoor.
The locals have vowed to take down the latest ‘predator’ big name trying to locate in the town.
Local authority West Devon Borough Council says it wants the hotel to locate in Tavistock so it can claw back a yearly rent from the major hotelier to plug hole in its budget.
But critics say a Premier Inn will drive local B&Bs out of business and squeeze out independent traders.
The council will meet on February 12 but campaigners are hoping to force a re-think before they give permission to Premier Inn.
Andy Coulson, of Tavistock, has launched an online petition to try and stop Premier Inn,.
‘The problem is, we are bringing an apex predator into a chicken coop,’ he said.
‘People will say, what’s wrong with competition? What’s wrong with competition is when you put an apex predator into a chicken coop?
‘The hotels are mostly all independent, we are very lucky to have that here, and they’re important because they use local suppliers.
‘They are owned and operated by a family who has a mortgage with that income. They support a family. They are putting that money back into local suppliers. They spend their money here.’
Another local Steve Hipsey said: ‘One of the main reasons I am against it is the way it’s been done. It smacks of arrogance.
Premier Inn says it’s keeping all options open as it looks to expand its presence. Nearby Okehampton is another location the company is considering.
A Premier Inn spokesperson said: ‘Locations close to Dartmoor National Park are very popular searches on our website and as yet we do not have a big presence in west Devon outside of the major towns and cities.
Cllr Philip Sanders, leader of West Devon Borough Council, defended the proposal: ‘We are delighted to have interest in Tavistock from a major UK hotel operator.
‘With a major hotel chain, one which is renowned for offering good value for money, Tavistock will soon be able to say it boasts a wide range of hotel accommodation for visitors to choose from.’