Plans for £7m Hanley Premier Inn
A MAJOR chain has revealed plans for a £7 million hotel and restaurant close to the city centre.
Premier Inn confirmed today it is to lodge proposals for a 100-bedroom hotel and Brewers Fayre restaurant, in Etruria Road, Hanley.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council officers have been working for more than a year to attract at least one major hotel chain to the city centre.
But Premier Inn's bid may not be what council officers had planned.
The authority is keen to support an 80-bedroom hotel at Realis Estates' planned City Sentral shopping centre, while the Central Business District (CBD) is also set to include a hotel.
The city council has also earmarked Hanley Town Hall as a potential hotel and conference site linked to neighbouring Victoria Hall.
Officers and cabinet members said they were unable to comment as the planning process is in its early stages.
Doug Wardle, spokesman of trader group the City Centre Partnership, said: "It's a good spot. Anything that brings new developments to the city has to be positive.
"The advantage of having major brands is that smaller businesses may also want to open nearby to latch on to their footfall.
"It could even attract people who are visiting places like WaterWorld."
The Premier Inn complex would be built on vacant land next to Storey Carpets. The firm was unable to confirm who currently owns the land.
Its application follows a series of controversies surrounding city centre regeneration schemes.
The Sentinel revealed how the Potteries Shopping Centre is pressing ahead with its expansion plans – despite the city council's refusal to sell the land needed for a full extension.
And it has also emerged that the Potteries centre and Realis are both battling to sign up Vue – the cinema firm needed to get both firms off the ground.
Non-aligned councillor and Hanley One residents' association chairman Paul Breeze said: "This will certainly put another cat among the pigeons.
"Premier Inn must have done their homework and they must feel that this is a viable site. Sometimes, when somebody is waiting and willing to invest you have to just let the market decide.
"If you try to manipulate things, as the council has done with the shopping centre, things can start to go pear-shaped very quickly.
"The council has put all of its eggs into one basket – but what happens if the basket collapses?"
Nick Johnston, acquisition manager for Whitbread Hotels and Restaurants, which owns the chain, said: "Hanley is a town we want to be in. Our investment will create new jobs, help attract overnight visitors to the area and ultimately boost the local economy.
"This is only good news for the town, and I look forward to hearing the public's reaction to our proposals."
Premier Inn's plans will be on display at a public exhibition on Thursday, November 22, from 5pm to 7pm at the Dudson Centre, in Hope Street, Hanley.