Trav­elodge bid for old leisure cen­tre site

Ho­tel chain is one of the bid­ders for town-cen­tre site

Hinckley Times - - FRONT PAGE - KAREN HAM­BRIDGE karen.ham­bridge@trin­i­tymir­

A TRAV­ELODGE ho­tel could be com­ing to Hinck­ley as part of am­bi­tious plans to trans­form the for­mer leisure cen­tre site.

The bud­get ac­com­mo­da­tion brand has been re­vealed as one of the bid­ders to de­liver a “land­mark de­vel­op­ment” on the empty 3.4 acre Coven­try Road plot.

Around half a dozen ex­pres­sions of in­ter­est are thought to have been submitted to Hinck­ley and Bos­worth Bor­ough Coun­cil af­ter the au­thor­ity ad­ver­tised for re­gen­er­a­tion pro­pos­als.

A spokesman said: “Trav­elodge have submitted a bid for the old leisure cen­tre site. It is one of a num­ber which have been re­ceived and are cur­rently be­ing eval­u­ated.

“A de­ci­sion is ex­pected soon, hope­fully be­fore Christ­mas. It is a key site, a prime site and it has al­ready been lev­elled so de­vel­op­ers will not need to de­mol­ish any­thing.”

The rev­e­la­tion comes as Trav­elodge it­self ad­mit­ted it was ac­tively look­ing for lo­ca­tions in Hinck­ley and was keen to part­ner with the coun­cil to sup­port lo­cal re­gen­er­a­tion, cre­ate jobs and boost the lo­cal econ­omy.

The chain op­er­ates more than 550 ho­tels across the coun­try and has four in the Le­ices­ter­shire area, at Mark­field, Kirby Muxloe, Lut­ter­worth and cen­tral Le­ices­ter.

Dur­ing the last three years, Trav­elodge has com­pleted seven lo­cal au­thor­ity de­vel­op­ment part­ner­ship deals with open­ings at Ayles­bury, Bices­ter, Dud­ley, Thet­ford and Eastleigh.

Ho­tels in the pro­gramme are built on sur­plus lo­cal au­thor­ity land - like the for­mer leisure cen­tre site - with the fund­ing pro­vided ei­ther through the coun­cil’s in­ter­nal re­source or via low-cost grant from the Pub­lic Works Loan Board or third party re­sources.

When com­plete, coun­cils can ei­ther re­tain own­er­ship of the ho­tel and re­ceive an annu- al rent into the rev­enue bud­get or sell the ho­tel with Trav­elodge as its op­er­a­tor.

Trav­elodge say they want to ex­pand with a fur­ther 200 plus ho­tels over the next decade and work­ing in part­ner­ship with civic agen­cies is seen as a key route to de­liver this pro­gramme.

Bor­ough bosses are keen to see an “ex­em­plar” build on the “gate­way” site, which has been split into three sec­tions for de­vel­op­ment pur­poses. Cur­rent bids are for site A.

The land has been va­cant since the 1970s sports com­plex was razed last year at a cost of £276,000.

Cap­i­tal­is­ing on the growth in tourism across the area is also a top tar­get for the coun­cil. An in­de­pen­dent re­port from busi­ness man­age­ment con­sul­tants ACK Tourism, pub­lished in Septem­ber, out­lines a vi­sion for “des­ti­na­tion man­age­ment” up to 2022.

It re­veals vis­i­tor num­bers to the bor­ough are ex­pected to in­crease to around three mil­lion a year over the next five years, spend­ing some £140 mil­lion.

The re­port of­fers most re­cent fig­ures - for 2015 - which show the bor­ough had around 2.2 mil­lion day vis­i­tors who spent £66.9 mil­lion, while those vis­i­tors who stayed spent al­most as much at £50.5 mil­lion.

ACK con­cluded a “bud­get ho­tel in Hinck­ley town cen­tre” was a prime as­pi­ra­tion and con­firmed Trav­elodge saw Hinck­ley as tar­get lo­ca­tion.

How­ever, the Trav­elodge bid must be ap­praised along­side the com­pet­ing sub­mis­sions which in­clude res­i­den­tial and po­ten­tially re­tail/com­mer­cial/ leisure.

The site of the for­mer leisure cen­tre on Coven­try Road

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