The development of a new hotel to be built close to the Royal & Derngate Theatres in Northampton has been backed by theatre bosses.
Proposals to build a hotel over a car park close to the entrance of the theatre were first revealed in 2009 when it was suggested the area could become a new ‘town square’, surrounded by cafes and restaurants.
After lengthy negotiations, Northampton Borough Council this week announced that hotel chain, Premier Inn, had agreed to build on the site.
The move has been welcomed by Martin Sutherland, the chief executive of the Royal & Derngate, as he believes it will help attract business to the theatres.
He said: “I’m really supportive of the hotel. I’ve seen the plans and I think it will add to what this part of the town centre has to offer.
“The design seems sympathetic to the area and will give us the opportunity to encourage people from further afield to come to the theatre and enjoy an overnight stay.”
The 104-room hotel and restaurant is expected to employ about 50 people.
A small number of disused offices in St John’s Terrace, close to the St John’s multi-storey car park, will be demolished to allow the development to go ahead.
Richard Pearson, from Whitbread Hotels and Restaurants, which owns Premier Inn, said: “A new Premier Inn is an exciting proposition for Northampton town centre.
“Our investment will create new jobs and strengthen the local economy by attracting people to stay in the heart of the town.”
It is expected work will start on the development by the autumn with the hotel due to open in autumn 2014.
It is the latest in a number of developments in the St John’s area, which include the creation of a new cinema close to Royal & Derngate and the construction of student flats on the former St John’s surface car park. Along with the student flats development, the hotel plan will mean the loss of 255 parking spaces in the town centre.
Northampton Borough Council said the town can absorb the loss as studies have shown there are currently 1,792 more spaces in the town centre than are needed at peak times.
Council leader, Councillor David Mackintosh (Con, Rectory Farm) said: “A new hotel will be great news for the theatres, the new cinema, shops and other nearby attractions.”