Covid wrecks new ambitions for Devon town

Premier Inn has pulled out of plans for them to occupy a hotel in the centre of Teignmouth, it can be revealed.

Daniel Clark www.devonlive.com

The three storey 68-bed hotel and Beefeater restaurant, which was approved under delegated powers by Teignbridge District Council last year, was due to be built on the derelict Brunswick Street site.

Once completed, the Premier Inn was due to be the only branded hotel in Teignmouth offering affordable and high-quality accommodation for visitors to the coastal resort and boosting the local economy.

However, at Tuesday morning’s Teignbridge overview and scrutiny committee, leader of the council, Cllr Alan Connett, confirmed that ‘rumours’ over the future of the site were true and the hotel chain had withdrawn from the project.

CGI Artist impression of what the Premier Inn for Teignmouth would have looked like

CGI Artist impression of what the Premier Inn for Teignmouth would have looked like

He said: “There have been some setbacks and Premier Inn have notified the council they are withdrawing from the project. They have said they do want a presence in Teignmouth but not at this time,” adding that the coronavirus pandemic had meant that they had re-evaluated their investments in the short term.

Cllr Connett added that he had asked officers to re-evaluate the plans for the site.

Teignbridge District Council had agreed to construct the new hotel to Premier Inn’s latest specification, with the final building being leased to Whitbread, Premier Inn’s parent company, for a minimum of 25 years, but those plans are now in question following the hotel chain’s decision to withdraw.

It is unknown as to whether the council will still go-ahead with the construction of the hotel and look find a partner to lease it out to, or if the project will be paused until an alternative operator can be found.

After the meeting, a spokesman for the council added: “We are disappointed by the Premier Inn’s decision to withdraw and we are exploring alternatives for the site which will help to regenerate the town.”

A spokesperson for Premier Inn said: “Before the pandemic we were confident we could operate a 68-bedroom Premier Inn hotel and Beefeater restaurant on Brunswick Street in Teignmouth profitably.

“As a responsible publicly owned business, we reviewed the expected trading levels of all our pipeline developments to ensure these new hotels and restaurants are financially viable for us following the coronavirus pandemic.

“Regrettably, the proposed hotel and restaurant at Teignmouth town centre is no longer financially viable for Whitbread. We have therefore reluctantly withdrawn from the scheme.

“This difficult decision does not impact our commitment to any other of our trading or pipeline developments in Devon or elsewhere.”

The hotel, for which construction has yet to begin, was due to be built on the existing Brunswick Street car park site and the former Swanson workshop, as part of the wider regeneration of the area of the town.

A new health and wellbeing centre, which would include relocation of the town GP practices, will also be among the plans for Brunswick Street, as would be the refurbishment of the Teignmouth Arts and Community Group’s home in Northumberland Place.