Stop Falmouth Premier Inn plans 'at all costs'
11:40am Friday 20th July 2012 in News
More than 60 hoteliers and residents attended a meeting in the Falmouth Hotel last Wednesday to voice their opposition to a new Premier Inn for the town.
If the proposals from New Cornwall Developments go ahead it will see a 74-bedroom hotel built on the site of the Campbeltown Way car park near Events Square. Original plans for the development were withdrawn last year after concerns were raised over the design of the new hotel and its impact on parking and traffic in the area.
But at a recent town council meeting a company spokesman insisted the hotel would not impact on local hotels and B&Bs, adding that traffic assessments undertaken by the company had shown the hotel would have little or no impact on parking issues in the town centre.
Many hoteliers and local residents have major concerns over the proposed development, however, including the potential risk of it flooding. Jane Carmichael from the Lugo Rock Hotel said: “If developers actually get the go ahead and start digging down the four metres necessary for the footings of the underground car park planned, they will meet with a lot of water.
“Documents lodged with the application but not scrutinised by Falmouth Town Council planning committee show that the test bore holes encountered water filling the holes at only 3.8 metres, and they were filling at the rate of 30cm per hour.”
Another particular worry is the size of lorry delivering to the prospective hotel. Mrs Carmichael added: “These will be 18 metres long and weigh 40 tonnes. The only way these lorries can negotiate the turn into the underground car park is to back up the slope, reverse across a busy access road onto a pedestrian only area. These lorries will also just add to the usual parking and traffic nightmare.”
Developers have predicted that only guests from 15-20 of the 74 planned rooms will be arriving to the hotel by car and require parking. Many hoteliers in the immediate area, however, said they would be happy to provide figures to support their claims that the majority of their guests arrived by car and not by public transport.
New Cornwall Developments, who are also the company behind much of the construction of Events Square, have further infuriated campaigners by applying to the council to remove an obligation to provide 21 parking spaces, which was agreed in 2006 before the building that now houses Tesco Express and Zizzi was built.
The new Premier Inn’s restaurant will be for residents only and some of the people present at the meeting felt that this was not a feasible business plan, as many guests would most likely choose to eat in one of Falmouth’s many restaurants. They claimed that this might seem like an advantage for local restaurants, but they suspected that the Premier Inn’s restaurant would later be opened to the public, thus taking away from the local economy.
Mrs Carmichael said: “Organisers of the meeting are now planning further action to get the building of the Premier Inn stopped at all costs.”