National hotel chain Premier Inn has confimed its interest in moving to the Pier Field site in Skegness.
The Standard exclusively revealed two weeks ago that a chain had set its sights on the resort.
And now landowner’s East Lindsey District Council has defended its position after angry residents and hotel owners claimed there was a lack of transparency over the proposal at last Wednesday’s Skegness Town Council meeting.
Town councillors agreed to hold a special meeting to consider the proposal next month.
Skegness Labour party chairman Brenda Futers was among members of the public raising concerns.
She said: “Whether you agree with the district council proposing to allow a hotel to be built on our field or not, the sad fact is that the first the town’s people know about it is when it is reported in our local newspaper.
“Why were we not told this was going to happen? Did the councillors not know? If not, why not? If they did know why didn’t it come out? There will obviously be a financial gain from the sale or rent of the land who gains, will Skegness see any of that money?”
However, East Lindsey District Council communications and consultation team leader James Gilbert denied there had been a lack of consultation. He said: “The town clerk for Skegness Town Council was informed on Monday, June 9. The first newspaper report on this was on the Wednesday. Therefore, the town council had two days’ notice. The email also went to key organisations in Skegness such as the Town Partnership and others.
“This is all the information we have on the matter – other than the fact Premier Inn have now publicly said they are the hotelier. We now await further details on the scheme from the developers.”
Mr Gilbert said that although the district council owned Pier Field and would determine any planning application there was no conflict of interest as there were divides between different departments.
East Lindsey will make a decision on whether it wishes to sell the site in September following a public consultation. Any sale to Premier Inn would be take place once planning permission was approved.
Confirming interest in the site, Kevin Murray, senior acquisitions manager for Premier Inn owner’s Whitbread Hotels and Restaurants, said: “We are pleased to confirm that we will be working on proposals with KCS Developments Ltd to bring a new Premier Inn to Skegness.
“Our plans are at an early stage and the detailed design is still being worked on. Once complete, our proposal will go through the formal planning process, in which we will ask for the views of local people to inform the hotel’s detailed design, before we submit our application to East Lindsey District Council.”
Skegness Town Council will hold an extraordinary meeting to consider the Pier Field proposal on Tuesday, July 1, at 7pm, at the town hall.