Have Cornwall Council and Covid-19 seen off Travelodge’s Bude plans?

Back in 2015, an application was made to Cornwall Council relating to the former bus garage and depository buildings on Lansdown Road. The plan submitted was to erect five town houses, ten flats and three commercial office/retail units. This plan was approved in 2016, with conditions, but never happened apart from the recent demolition of the old buildings (which had become an eyesore).

By 2019, a controversial plan was submitted to build a 70-bed Travelodge, including bar, cafe and car park. This was ultimately refused, the reasons given as follows:

The proposed development, by reason of its prominent corner plot position, scale, roof design, and the height, massing, and appearance of the Lansdown Road elevation, results in a contrived, discordant and overbearing form of development out of character with the intrinsic scale, rhythm and more pedestrian scale of properties along Lansdown Road.

The design fails to promote local distinctiveness and fails to conserve or enhance the special character of the Bude Conservation Area. As such, it is contrary to Policies 15 and 23 of the Bude-Stratton Neighbourhood Development Plan 2016 – 2030 February 2016, Policies 2, 12 and 24 of the Cornwall Local Plan Strategic Policies 2010-2030 (Adopted 22nd November 2016) and paras, 127, 192 and 200 of the National Planning Policy Framework 2019.

In the absence of a mechanism to secure the provision of an off-site financial contribution towards the Bude Transport Strategy to mitigate highway impacts, the proposal is considered to be contrary to guidance contained within Policies 27 and 28 of the Cornwall Local Plan Strategic Policies 2010 – 2030 (November 2016) and paragraph, 54 of the National Planning Policy Framework 2019.

It has gone rather quiet since then, so what happens now? Will Travelodge pursue their plans?

Well, a lot has happened, not least Covid-19, which has impacted travel and hospitality globally, nationally and locally. I took at look at the Travelodge website and could not find any mention of Bude. However, the following suggests that new investment might well be a long way off. This is not really the time to build new hotels anywhere.

In June 2020, Travelodge creditors approved a proposed Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) due to Covid-19 saying ‘cash conservation’ was necessary:

The majority of Travelodge’s estate has remained shut since the UK Government ordered the closure of hotels on 24 March 2020. Leading hotel industry analysts project the likely halving of hotel revenues for the full year, which would be the equivalent of approximately £350 million in lost revenues for the business in 2020. The impact of COVID-19 is also expected to continue into 2021. This unprecedented reduction in revenues continues to significantly affect the short-term performance of the business, which normally generates approximately 70% of its annual profitability in the period from April to September.

What will happen to the old bus depot? Will the previous plans (which were conditionally approved) be reinstated? If anyone knows anything, do share …




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