Premier Inn Checks Out

It should come as no surprise following Whitbread’s announcement of job losses earlier this week that they have now pulled out of building a Premier Inn Hotel in Bircherley Green (see full story in Hertfordshire Mercury).

Premier Inn cancelled

It is fair to say that few people in Hertford saw the need for a hotel. Except for Whitbread who crunched the numbers and stated that it was a viable proposition.

I am also at a loss as to how this came about. My understanding of the background to this can be read in a previous post.

What now? Who knows? Is there a white knight out there who is willing to invest in a new hotel in Hertford given the current state of the economy and Whitbread’s own recent assessment and actions.

Empty space available for Hotel – photo courtesy of Hertford.net

Maybe the alternative is for Chase New Homes to build Block C similarly to Blocks A and B with retail on the ground floor and apartments above. It appears that Chase and East Herts Council have agreed a legal form of wording to get the application approved and building to commence. See this report on Hertford.net regarding the Viability Review.

It is a sad situation mirrored up and down the country. However in the last couple of weeks Hertford has lost Cafe Rouge, Prezzo, ASK, Costa Coffee and Edinburgh Wolllen Mill. There have been others and I doubt if these will be the last casualties.

Shop closures and business failures have been a constant thread in this blog. I wish I could report on some good news. I will keep my ear to the ground.

By John Barber

John Barber was born in London at the height of the UK Post War baby boom. He had careers in Advertising, International Banking and the Wine Industry before becoming Town Centre Manager in his home town of Hertford. He has been writing professionally since 1996 when he began to contribute articles to magazines on social and local history. His first published book in 2002 was a non-fiction work entitled The Camden Town Murder, a hitherto unsolved murder case from 1907.