Premier Inn chosen to take on Exmouth's Elizabeth Hall site
By PGStrange | Thursday, October 04, 2012, 16:16
THE HOTEL CHAIN Premier Inn has been chosen as the preferred bidder to take on ownership of the Elizabeth Hall site on Exmouth's seafront. East Devon District Council say that a Premier Inn hotel – with a new-style café/restaurant on the ground floor – could now be built and open for business as early as spring 2014…
Exmouth's Elizabeth Hall was put up for sale by EDDC in April. Premier Inn is the preferrred bidder for the site. EDDC say that a new hotel - with a cafe/restaurant - could now be built and open for business in 2014
Following EDDC's detailed discussions with groups who made a formal bid to buy the Elizabeth Hall site, Cabinet members agreed overwhelmingly last night (Wednesday 3 October) that Premier Inn offered "the best deal for the town".
EDDC say that Premier Inn scored highest against a wide range of set criteria which included economic impact (such as jobs and attracting new spend), design quality and regeneration potential, as well as financial offer.
EDDC will now work further with Premier Inn to refine the proposal before the company brings forward a detailed planning application. This is expected to happen by February next year with, if planning permission is secured, work expected to begin on site before the end of 2013.
Best deal for Exmouth
"Having studied all the proposals carefully and listened to what each of the bidders had to say, we are convinced that Premier Inn provides the best deal for Exmouth in terms of taking on this important site," said Councillor Andrew Moulding, Chairman of Exmouth Regeneration Programme Board.
"This is a fantastic vote of confidence in Exmouth and the interest shown by a major national brand is a very real boost to our vision for bringing new life and energy to the seafront.
"Premier Inn have been able to demonstrate to EDDC that their proposal offers most in terms of new jobs, additional spend and investment in the town and the greatest economic impact for the seafront itself. These are all factors at the heart of the Exmouth Vision ambition.
"It's worth adding that we didn't just go for the highest price either. We have gone for the option that we believe is in the best modern interests of the whole town".
The Premier Inn proposal is for a three-storey building, rising to four storeys in one section as part of the design, with 60 rooms.
On the ground floor there would be a licensed café/restaurant open to residents and non-residents alike, offering food and drink from 6 am to 11 pm, which EDDC says will be "a vital boost to Exmouth's night-time economy". In addition, meeting rooms and small-scale conference facilities have been included in the design, with an entrance onto Bath Road "offering improved links to the town centre".
12,000 signature petition
The other bidders for the Elizabeth Hall site with whom EDDC held discussions were a residential provider and the community group Friends Of Elizabeth Hall. The community group had wished to retain the current Victorian building and make improvements to it. The group was backed by a petition, signed by 12,000 people, and submitted to EDDC.