Councillors give green light to Willen Lake hotel plan

May 08, 2020

Artist’s impression of the new Premier Inn hotel to be built at Willen Lake.

COUNCILLORS have granted planning permission for a new hotel and restaurant at Willen Lake that is set to create up to 70 new jobs.

Leisure and hospitality giant Whitbread plc is planning a multi-million pound investment in the project, to be built on the south side of the lake near the offices of telecommunications company Unify. 

The proposals are for a 120-bedroom hotel together and Cookhouse and Pub restaurant overlooking the lake.  As well as adding more hotel capacity and more choice into the area, the new hotel and related investment will further reinforce Willen Lake as one of the key leisure attractions for Milton Keynes, the company said.

Milton Keynes Council approved the proposals at a meeting of its panning committee on Thursday (May 7), subject to the completion of a Section 106 Agreement.  The meeting was held ‘virtually’ under changes as a result of COVID-19. 

The proposed view of the hotel from the lakeside.

Whitbread’s development manager Jamie Baker said: “A brand new, purpose-planned and purpose-built Premier Inn will make a massive contribution to the facilities and attractiveness of Willen Lake.  Getting the green light to invest into and improve this part of Milton Keynes is more important now than ever and I am pleased the council has supported our vision and proposed investment.”

Whitbread designed and developed the plans in conjunction with The Parks Trust, which manages the parks and green spaces across Milton Keynes, including Willen Lake.  

Its head of property Ben Allot said: “We have been working hard to improve the visitor experience at what is one of Milton Keynes’ most popular leisure destinations. The new Premier Inn hotel and restaurant will attract new visitors and will be an important contribution to the city’s visitor economy.”

The rental income from the venture will go back into the charity to support its work. This work is financed by The Trust’s endowment fund which enables the charity to make investments which provide the income to maintain and improve the parks, Mr Allot added.

The new four storey hotel will be a latest-generation Premier Inn with a bespoke design to reflect the site’s setting.  The single-storey Cookhouse and Pub restaurant will have a glass frontage and outside seating area for customers. A dedicated customer car park will provide 157 car parking spaces.

by ANDREW GIBBS e: news@businessmk.co.uk

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