Stowed out! Council leaders insist there is room for Premier Inn and Travelodge in Cromer
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Council leaders this week insisted budget hotel chains can be accommodated in Cromer.
With both Travelodge and Premier Inn searching for a site in the town, North Norfolk District Council is set to approve plans to sell part of the Cadogan Road car park for a hotel development at its Cabinet meeting on Monday.
It has recommended a number of sites for development in a bid to raise money to balance the books before setting its budget for the year ahead.
Local authority leader Tom FitzPatrick added: 'Last year whole parts of north Norfolk were completely stowed out with people, there was no capacity.
'Other places have been suggested to them. In the development plan for Fakenham, there's a hotel among all those houses, that's hopefully going to be brought forward. But two of the chains are really keen to be in Cromer and that has to be a positive. It's going to attract visitors and jobs.'
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The council, which confirmed the East Coast Motors site in Beach Road and a vacant site in Runton Road in Cromer were also suggested as potential locations for a hotel, revealed it hoped the budget chains would support its plans to market the council chamber at its headquarters in Cromer for conferences to provide additional income.
Councillor Judy Oliver, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Corporate Assets and Commercialisation at North Norfolk District Council, added: 'I think there is room for everyone to function.'
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Speculation around the budget hotel chains' interest in the town has divided opinion - with those for keen for more affordable accommodation in the seaside resort, while those against fear it could take trade away from existing hotels.
The district council admitted it would have to find alternative parking for coaches, which contribute to the eight million visitors to the coast each year, if councillors don't put the brakes on the proposals.
Steve Blatch. Corporate Director & Head of Paid Service at North Norfolk District Council, said: 'Both Premier Inn and Travelodge have been looking to establish a presence in Cromer for some time. We've responded to those enquiries by directing them to sites in the town – we have put forward the East Coast Motors site at the end of Beach Road and the vacant site on Runton Road, opposite the car park, which has got residential consent but has lain dormant for some time. Those are probably the only sites within the environment of the town that could accommodate that scale of investment.
'The scheme at Cadogan Road retains 90 out of the 120 car parking spaces, and the issue around the coach parking is essentially for groups that want to be in the town centre, so best to drop them outside the church and there's evidence to suggest they do that anyway. It's about where the empty coach parks and we think that could be better achieved on Runton Road rather than Cadogan Road car park.'
And he added: 'Because of the height difference in that (Cadogan Road) car park, it does fall away to the town, professional architects are saying you could have undercroft car parking beneath the hotel.'
The public are being given the opportunity to air their views on the proposals at a special meeting of Cromer Town Council in North Lodge, at North Lodge Park, tonight (Thursday) at 7pm, when town councillors are being asked to agree a response.