Thursday, 23 June 2016

Meeting with Premier Inn about proposed Branwell's Mill development

As many of you will have read online and in the local papers. Premier Inn are interested in setting up a hotel in Branwell's Mill in Penzance. Last night members of the Town Council were invited to a presentation by the agents from the hotel chain in St John's Hall. The Town Council rightly has a clear position that it is neutral on this development. Due to Code of Conduct rules and particularly Section 25 of the Localism Act, councillors must not enter debates with a closed mind. Or to put in plain terms the council and councillors can not be seen to have made a decision before the meeting and before they see the facts before them of that meeting. As with any planning application in the parish of Penzance it will be reviewed, debated and voted on by Penzance Town Council  Added to the fact that I've seen a presentation for the developers but not been able to speak to hear other sides of the story. This post is primarily to inform yourselves of what is happening rather than give an opinion or discuss and analyse the case for or against.

To give the facts and figures as presented last night. They are looking to present a planning application in July, with the hope of finishing construction and opening in last 2017 or early 2018. The plan (at this stage at least) is to have a 61 bedroom hotel with a 55 cover restaurant. Construction works, over all seem to be to keep the existing structure with internal modifications. The timber window bays are to be removed and there will be a small single floor foyer/ lobby constructed at the existing entrance pictured right. They did assure the meeting that they are working with Conservation Officers at Cornwall Council on plans.


The hotel's agents told us that the development would represent a £6 million investment. That the site would probably employ 16 full time equivalent posts. They seem confident that there is adequate demand in the town for another hotel and point to their research that shows that nearly 17,000 searches were made for Penzance on the Premier Inn website in the last 12 months. They claim that the knock on effect of having the hotel for the town would equal £1.95 million a year.

Obviously a great deal of this is early stages and it is in the pre-application stage. Obviously more will be known then. Although as I stated above the Town Council does not formally have a position there were a number of concerns raised by members about issues such as the knock on effect to existing businesses, parking (as the hotel is not planning on providing any) the poor pedestrian access to the site and the fact the building is both prominent and in a conservation area amongst other things. This is a significant development for the town and in a very significant area definitely one to watch with interest. Any thoughts or views please don't hesitate to get in contact.