Uncertainty over future and ownership of former Sunderland Travelodge in High Street West

Uncertainty hangs over the future of the former £6million Travelodge in High Street West after the hotel quietly closed.

Saturday, 21st May 2022, 4:55 am

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The 81-bedroom hotel in High Street West was opened to much applause back in November 2012 at a time when hotel accommodation was in short supply in the city.

Then-Mayor of Sunderland Iain Kay cut the ribbon at an opening ceremony, and spoke of “a critical shortage of bed spaces” in the city centre which the Travelodge would address.

Less than a decade later, the four-storey building stands abandoned beside the Empire Cinema, having closed its doors for good in December 2021.

Mayor of Sunderland Iain Kay opens the hotel in November 2012. Picture by Corrinna Atkinson.

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The fronts of the hotel’s signage have since been removed. But there are currently no for sale or to let signs on view at the site.

Travelodge told the Echo: “Following the entry into a company voluntary arrangement in 2020, the company retained a network of more than 500 hotels across the UK.

“However a small number closed or transferred to other operators and this included the hotel on Sunderland High Street West. We still operate our hotel nearby at Sunderland Central.”

The company did not say how many jobs had been lost, but the Echo was told when the hotel first opened that 18 had been created .

The sign at the entrance doesn't give much away.

Travelodge say they do not own any of the buildings from which they operate hotels, including the mothballed High Street West building and that “the majority of our (Travelodge’s) rooms in the UK are leasehold.”

However, the Echo contacted HM Land Registry. Their documents identify the owner as Travelodge Ltd.

When asked about this, the company said the information “is not correct and up to date and they could “confirm we are no longer responsible for the building.”

The Land Registry say they “have checked and there are no pending applications”, meaning that they currently have no documents to say that the building is owned by anyone else.

How the former 82-bedroom hotel looks today.

Sunderland City Council said: “The building is privately owned, and the council has not been made aware of further plans for its use.”

A new 120-bed, £18 million Holiday Inn hotel is currently under construction in nearby Keel Square and expected to open soon.

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