Hotels and guest houses in Spalding are waging war on plans for a budget inn they fear will rob them of their livelihoods.
They are lodging official objections to the Premier Inn being built on a business park on the edge of town.
Hundreds of new jobs are likely to be on the cards for Spalding because of the Lincs Gateway Business Park proposal, offering an array of high-quality commercial buildings complemented by a major new conference centre, hotel, restaurant and petrol station on land just off the A16 towards Cowbit.
As well as the Premier Inn, big names already signed up include Whitbread’s Brewers Fayre.
Owners of local hotels and guest houses met last week and pledged to submit objections to South Holland District Council by today’s deadline.
Gan Seta, owner of the Woodlands Hotel, said: “Hotels of our size cannot compete against a chain like Premier Inn. If the project goes ahead, employment-wise you will be robbing Peter to pay Paul.”
Mr Seta, who has a staff of 12 at the three-star Woodlands in Pinchbeck Road, said his and other local hotels were not running at full capacity, relying on business trade in the week.
He said: “We are only busy at the weekend when we have weddings in the summer. The rest of the time we rely on friends and families visiting the area.
“Our tourist trade is not good either and now the flower parade has ended we won’t get that early season boost that we used to.”
Residents living close to the development site are also lodging objections to the Lincs Gateway Business Park proposal.
Graham Brown, of Fen End Lane, has put in a nine-page objection and says the development will severely affect the value of his house, with the loss of open views across the fields and the quietness of living in a cul-de-sac.
He said: “It is ridiculous that I, my family and residents on Fen End Lane may well have to suffer building works for the next five to 10 years and all the noise, dust and disruption this will cause.
”I am also concerned with potential flooding as there are currently no proposals detailing re-routing of the dyke that serves the properties.”
Michael Moran, of Moran Asset Management, one of the parties behind the Lincs Gateway project, said: “We completely respect people’s concerns over the Premier Inn plans but feel the worries are misplaced and that, once people become more familiar with the full extent of investment and jobs that the Lincs Gateway project will deliver, they will see the broader benefits for the town.
“The hotel will be competing against the Travelodge at Springfields, which we know is massively overtrading at the moment. The Premier Inn at Boston for example currently charge £82.25 per night for a basic B&B so there’s a different market for quality local independent hotels such as The Red Lion and The Woodlands.
“The whole driving force behind the Lincs Gateway scheme is to bring a huge number of quality jobs to the town. The site has been identified as being best placed to allow South Holland to compete with the likes of Peterborough and further afield for new investment.
“The new multi-million pound conference centre will allow large conferences to be held in the area, which will in turn bring more visitors, not all of whom of course will stay at a 50-bed Premier Inn.”