Opposition from councillors to plans for £19.99-a-night easyHotel in Cambridge
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Plans for a new “super budget” easyHotel in a busy part of the city will be “vehemently opposed” amid fears of the impact on congestion and overcrowding in the area.
Applicants MPMerchant Ltd and easyHotel UK Ltd have submitted an application to Cambridge City Council for the demolition of existing buildings at 211-213 Newmarket Road and the construction of a hotel where rooms would cost from as little as £19.99 a night.
The application also seeks the change of use of 2 Godesdone Road to be used for “associated infrastructure” for the hotel.
The easyHotel is a bargain hotel chain run by the easyGroup, the company behind budget airline easyJet. The 90-bedroom hotel would include a mix of double and twin rooms. Five of the rooms have been designed to be accessible rooms.
The easyHotel would join the new Premier Inn and Travelodge in Newmarket Road, an area which is currently undergoing extensive redevelopment.
The site is currently occupied by the ‘JH Cooper & Son’ furniture shop and showroom.
According to a design access statement submitted alongside the plans, the hotel’s design will be sympathetic to its surroundings in Newmarket Road.
“Careful consideration has been given to the scale and massing of the proposals to break up the façade of the building in keeping with the narrow width of buildings in the surrounding area,” the report reads. “The material pallet of grey roof tiles and buff brick also responds to the local context. The use of brick detailing is proposed to add interest to the façade.”
Some, however, are worried that the new hotel is not needed, and could end up adding to congestion and overcrowding in Newmarket Road.
Cllr Richard Johnson, who represents Abbey ward at Cambridge City Council, confirmed he and other councillors would “vehemently oppose” the plans.
Cllr Johnson said: “No recognition of the likely impact of parking in the vicinity and will certainly add to congestion. Proposal to use car park spaces at Tesco and Retail Park won’t work. An additional 90 rooms will take number (of rooms available in Newmarket Road) to 430 on this stretch of Newmarket Road. We don’t need a third hotel.”
According to a report from Savills estate agents, however, there is high demand in Cambridge for extra hotel rooms.
“While Brexit and its impact on the property market across all sectors remains uncertain; the Cambridge hotel market and wider visitor economy has continued to grow strongly,” the report reads. “It is extremely difficult to forecast hotel demand over a 20 year period; however the key demand drivers supporting the growth in the Cambridge hotel market are much stronger than predicted in the Cambridge Hotel Futures Study.”
The report adds that the easyHotel proposal would deliver Cambridge’s first “super budget” hotel in a sustainable location within walking distance to the city centre or alternatively by public transport.
The report reads: “As Cambridge’s hotel prices continue to increase easyHotel would provider a lower cost; high quality alternative.”
The application is due to come before Cambridge City Council’s planning committee before September 26.