Hotel and food plans for Great Yarmouth land
A new Travelodge Hotel and trio of food outlets are being tipped as the answer to a key employer's investment needs in Great Yarmouth.
Plans were submitted this week for a 68-bed hotel, family bar/restaurant, and two drive-thru outlets in a land sale deal said to be critical to Pasta Foods' ambitions to grow and safeguard jobs.
The latest and third planning application for the redundant factory site in Pasteur Road overlaps with an earlier retail-based scheme refused by the borough council's development control committee and set to go for appeal in the summer.
It shows a two storey hotel similar in scale and footprint to an existing, windowless warehouse, and a drive-thru Costa Coffee and Burger King.
Access to the area would be off a new roundabout.
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Writing to council planners in support of the application Pasta Foods director Simon Webber said the company needed the money to create a world-class facility in Yarmouth to rival its new factory in Norwich.
He said the vision was for a fully invested snack factory with five lines guaranteeing jobs for its 125 workers and its future in the town after 50 years.
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Bringing a hotel operator on board was a deliberate effort to tackle the council's unease over retail-based solutions for the site, he said, releasing revenue which was vital to the business.
Meanwhile the whole complex is set to generate 35 equivalent full time jobs.
Travelodge which already has a hotels in Gorleston and Acle said both were very busy and that they had identified a need for a third one in Yarmouth to meet demand for more budget beds, particularly for business visitors.
Dean Minns senior planning officer at Great Yarmouth Borough Council said it was a major development and that the consultation process would take some time.
Plans for a seven unit retail park with two drive-thrus were blocked by planners in 2014 over fears it could harm the town centre.
The applicant went to appeal but withdrew in October 2015.
A trimmed down version with three retail units and the drive-thrus was refused by committee members, against office advice, with an appeal likely to be heard in August.
The single-storey drive-thrus are in the same position in all the schemes.
According to the planning documents Costa Coffee and Burger King have both said their Pasteur Road drive-thrus will 'complement' rather than threaten their outlets in the town centre.
Barry Coleman, chairman of the economic development committee, said on the face of it a hotel scheme seemed to be preferable to a retail driven one.
He said the council had consistently opposed anything that could affect the town centre but that it understood Pasta Foods' situation and the difficult balancing act it had to perform.
Council leader Graham Plant, said he thought the scheme had a every chance of succeeding without a retail element, adding: 'To get national names in like Travelodge and the Premier Inn at the entrance to the town cannot be a bad thing because it means that people think the town is important enough to build in.'