PLANS have been approved for a £6million hotel and business units in Sunderland city centre.
Developers have been granted planning permission to build a four-storey building in Sunniside, housing an 82-bedroom hotel with a mix of commercial premises on the ground floor.
The Travelodge development in High Street West is expected to create 12 part-time and six full-time jobs and be open in late Autumn 2012. The ground-floor development is expected to create about 30 jobs.
Hendon councillor Michael Mordey said: “We need more hotels, a lot more hotels in the city. I’m really pleased to see this one come forward and hopefully once it’s on site it will drag in others.”
City leaders say Sunderland is in desperate need of more hotels if it is to best capitalise on events taking place in the city.
Businesses and civic leaders have previously voiced frustrations that shows at the Sunderland Empire and other events such as the Stadium of Light concerts, airshow and Sunderland 10k runs pull people into Wearside – but the city loses out as visitors stay in Newcastle or further afield due to a lack of accommodation here.
A number of planning applications for hotels have been approved in recent years, but not one has been built.
Coun Phil Tye, chairman of the council’s Planning and Highways committee, said: “Once we’ve got one, they’ll all start pouring in.”
Coun Tye added that while there was a need for high-quality hotels, Travelodge – which already has one hotel in Low Row in the city centre – offered excellent accommodation and would be a welcome development in the city centre.
“I think now most hotels are a similar class,” he said.
The hotel development would sit close to leisure facilities in the “river quarter” of the city centre, including the bowling alley, cinema, casino and restaurants.
Developers Calmont Group and Kier Property Ltd are working in partnership on the project.
Graham Brooker, a director of Calmont Group, said: “The new Travelodge is a fantastic opportunity for us and we are excited to be bringing such a large investment into Sunderland.
“The hotel will build on the existing leisure uses already in the area and add to the growing reputation of Sunniside as a great destination in the city centre.”
Tom Gilman, a director of Kier Property, which is building the development, said: “We are delighted to be linking up with Calmont, with their knowledge of Sunniside, to build on our long-standing relationship with Travelodge and deliver another quality hotel development.”