Cornwall planning: 'Whitewash' call as Premier Inn 'monstrosity' is recommended for approval

Plans for a new Premier Inn in St Ives, Cornwall
How the Premier Inn on Trewidden Road, St Ives, would look -Credit:Axiom Architects

Opponents of plans by Premier Inn to build a 90-room hotel in St Ives say they will hold a "peaceful protest" when a Cornwall Council committee meets to discuss the application. It has been recommended for approval by the authority's planning department.

The proposals have seen over 600 objections on the council's online planning register, with St Ives Town Council objecting to the plans last year. Councillors called the hotel a "carbuncle", "far too big" and "not Premier League but Second Division relegation zone" with "too many floors and flaws".

Scaled back plans for the hotel at Trewidden Road, to replace Cornwallis Nursing Home, were submitted to Cornwall Council in October by Whitbread, the parent company of Premier Inn. The application will be presented to and discussed by councillors at the West Cornwall sub-area planning committee on Monday, April 29.

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The planning authority has recommended delegated authority to approve - meaning decision by council officers only - but local member Cllr Andrew Mitchell has called it to committee for a decision by elected councillors. He took to Facebook this week to say: "I have not changed my mind that this proposal is way to much for the site, so I have called it to committee so the decision will be made in the public domain. It will be held at County Hall on April 29 if anyone wishes to attend. Hopefully many will."

Opponents say they will hold a "peaceful protest" at New County Hall / Lys Kernow in Truro on the day of the meeting. St Ives-based artist Shelley Thornton said: "In her wisdom, a Cornwall Council planning officer has decided to recommend for approval the Premier Inn despite the over 600 objections and the town council’s opposition. Whitewash."

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The planning report states: "The public benefits of the proposal, including the economic benefits derived from increased employment at the site and increased tourist spending in the local economy, are considered to outweigh the less than substantial harm to the setting of the conservation area."

Louise Woodruff, property acquisitions manager at Whitbread, said: “Our team has worked for more than two years to develop our plans and we held many useful conversations with St Ives residents and local stakeholders during this time.

“In response to feedback from the local community, we significantly altered the design of the hotel building and its architectural materials, as well as reduced the number of bedrooms - whilst working within the footprint of existing, implemented planning consent for the site."

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Should the proposals gain planning permission, the hotel is expected to create 30 permanent year-round jobs on opening with recruitment focused in St Ives. Whitbread said it is proposing to invest more than £10 million in the St Ives economy during the construction of the new Premier Inn. It also anticipates its guests staying at the proposed hotel would contribute more than £2.2 million in visitor expenditure per year.