Residents and guest house owners have reacted with fury and rage at the news that planning permission has been granted for a budget hotel right in the middle of the historic Dorset town of Christchurch.
Local councillors gave the decision to approve the hotel despite objections that the opening of a sixty-eight-bedroom Travelodge would destroy the character of the beautiful town centre. The area already has three Premier Inns and locals are surprised that planning for another hotel has managed to get council backing. The run-down former Christchurch Health Centre building will now be turned into a Travelodge, with a new entrance and reception area that can be accessed from the shopping precinct.
The Travelodge chain advertises family rooms for as little as £19 per night, and despite being a no frills service they aim to provide every single customer with both a clean and comfortable night. They were originally a roadside firm with hotels sited on the motorway network. However, for the last decade they have been concentrating more on developing new hotels in town and city centres.
Bernice O’Dell is a local businesswoman with a bed and breakfast business in the town that is covered by landlords insurance. She has organised a petition that local people have backed to the hilt. She believes more large hotels will detract from the charm and character of the town and traditional seaside properties that specialise in B&B will go out of business.
Bernice said: “It’s absolutely ridiculous allowing planning for a Travelodge. It looks like a prison, we are getting overtaken by budget hotels and it’s going to take our business away from us. How are we supposed to survive? I just think there’s enough budget accommodation in Christchurch and I also believe a lot of businesses will go under. I’m a Christchurch girl and we don’t want a big Travelodge in the heart of town. It’s just going to change the whole feel of the place. I love Christchurch and it saddens me to think what will happen to the town now.”