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Thursday, 27 November 2014

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MP backs calls to block hotel move into Cumbrian town

AN MP has backed calls to stop a hotel giant moving to a town in Cumbria.

Tim Farron, MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale, has backed the campaign calling on the University of Cumbria not to sell off one of their buildings in Ambleside to the Premier Inn.

Premier Inn want to redevelop the former University of Cumbria Hilltop building in Ambleside, but some objections have already been raised by local residents.

A petition created by South Lakeland District Councillor Heidi Halliday has garnered over 2,500 signatures.

Mr Farron has today written to the University of Cumbria and asked them to sell the building to a housing trust instead.

He said: “I am very careful on planning issues as they are a quasi-judicial matter, but I believe that this application will not help Ambleside.

“I actually believe it will hurt many of the businesses and bed and breakfasts in the town.

“I think it’s not just a planning application, I think it’s a policy matter that will change the whole town.

“I have long campaigned to bring back the University to the Ambleside campus and I'm delighted that we have managed to do this.

“It has been a long road, but together we've done it thanks to the community's campaign.

"I am mindful of the need for the University to gain capital receipts from under-used buildings.

“But I also think that the University has an obligation to the town.

“I think that they should have sold the property at market rate to a local housing trust.

“This would have allowed us to build much needed affordable housing for local families.

“The university needs the town as much as the town needs them. This application in my view will hurt Ambleside and they have not taken this into account. I hope they do in the days and weeks ahead.”

Visit https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/say-no-to-the-proposed-plans-to-build-a-premier-inn-in-ambleside to sign the petition.

Have your say

Tony,
Call it what you like - 'social engineering' if you want. But it is not a level playing field when a large company enters the market in a town. So competition isn't as simplistic as you make out.
Farron is expressing a view which is also the view of some other people in the town. So why is that ridiculous? Yes, the university can indeed sell to who they want - but people are asking them not to.
Of course some customers would go to Premier Inn. Some people don't mind where they stay, if they can get it dirt cheap. As a large organisation Premier Inn have the option of offsetting prices across the country - lowering prices to undercut B&Bs here but making up for that loss in another larger town, if they wish.
As with supermarkets, large organisations kill off family concerns and reduce the variety available to people.

Posted by Peter Sullivan on 17 April 2014 at 16:06

I do think mr Farron is beginning to loose the plot. Personally I think premier inn would be good for ambleside. It'll open up the town to a whole new market those that don't use b&bs, there are a lot of people myself included that will always choose the good quality budget hotel over the unknown of the independents.

It's an open free market. How much effect has the kendal one had on smaller b&bs? I think it's made some of the bigger ones more competitive.

Posted by Mike on 17 April 2014 at 07:39

View all 7 comments on this article

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