Hotel plans still on the horizon

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INNOVATIVE plans to build a floating hotel at Hartlepool Marina could still go ahead.

Hotel operator Premier Inn is looking to build the £3m extension to its Maritime Avenue site in a move which could create between 20 and 30 jobs.

The original plans for the 54-bedroom development were passed back in February 2009 but the three-year planning permission is due to lapse in April.

Applicants Whitbread has now submitted an application to Hartlepool Borough Council’s planning department to extend the time limit.

If the extension is built, the new and existing facilities will have a combined total of 114 bedrooms.

Hotel bosses hope the development will bring more business and tourism to Hartlepool.

When the application was first passed councillors described it as a “unique development” that would make Hartlepool the talk of the area.

The hotel will float on the tide but horizontal movement will be restricted by sleeved piles driven into the Marina so guests will not get seasick.

The original plans were backed by council tourism bosses, Government office One NorthEast and conservation body Natural England.

Allan Henderson, director of Hartlepool Marina which owns the water, is fully behind the project which would see Premier Inn take out a long lease.

Mr Henderson said: “We think this would be a great addition to the marina. The hotel is often full and this is a fantastic location.

“A floating hotel is also a first for Hartlepool and we are fully behind it.

“We own the water and we are giving them a long lease on the piece of water that they are taking.”

He added that the new hotel would have no negative impact on the running of the marina.

It was originally hoped the floating hotel would have been open in time for The Tall Ships’ Races event in August 2010.

But work never started and now Whitbread has asked for planning permission to be extended.

It is not yet known the exact timetable for when work will start.

Whitbread had been working with the council on the plans since 2007 before they were passed in 2009.

There are no berthing rights in that particular part of the Jackson Dock basin.

Some nearby residents and the Trincomalee Trust opposed the original application before it was approved but the applicants said the hotel would be 690ft away from the historic ship.