After kicking out a McDonald’s from its high street over a decade ago, Britain’s ‘angriest town’ have now successfully managed to block another corporate giant.
Tavistock in Devon last week declared war on plans to build a Premier Inn on the site of a key public car park.
Tempers flared at a council meeting as residents claimed the hotel chain threatened to sabotage their way of life but the authority has now ditched its plans.
A packed public gallery cheered as West Devon Borough Council leader Philip Sanders announced he would not be supporting plans to borrow the £10.6m it would need to help the project get off the ground.
The leader explained how the plan won’t now be able to go forward to the planning stage given there won’t be funding agreed for it.
This signalled another victory for the town’s residents against a multi-national giant who said they were ‘delighted’ with the outcome.
Several local residents had earlier given an impassioned plea at the meeting claiming the scheme would sound the death knell for independent B&Bs and shops.
The council’s initial plan was to borrow the money to build the hotel which it would hope to claw back through yearly rental charges on the land, which the borough owns.
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Council leader Cllr Philip Sanders told the audience he was wounded by accusations that he ‘doesn’t care’ about Tavistock.
He said he had lived in the town since 1974 and brought up two kids here and told the crowd he ‘doesn’t appreciate comments about the only good Councillor is a dead one’.
Chair of the meeting Cllr Mike Davies had earlier compared the debate to an episode of Question Time, given the strength of feeling in the room.
And Cllr Bob Baldwin said that the Premier Inn plan doesn’t make business sense to the council and threatens Tavistock’s world heritage status.
He said: ‘There is no consideration on migration of existing B&B visitors into budget hotel accommodation.’
Councillor Graham Parker also made a passionate speech about life in Tavistock, telling the meeting: ‘We must preserve parking, independent businesses and town’s heritage which a Premier Inn would jeopardise.’
Local residents said they were thrilled by the outcome.
Donna Baker said: ‘Look at all the towns, they all have something to be angry about these days.
‘There are a number of things being forced upon us. This seemed to be a reckless waste of money.’