Premier Inn, the UK’s largest hotel chain, is close to signing a deal with developer S Harrison for a 79-bedroom hotel at the new Friary Outer development in Lichfield.

Once completed, the new Premier Inn hotel will provide approximately 30 new full and part-time jobs in the city.

Developer, S Harrison, was initially working with Travelodge, which planned to operate a 65-bedroom hotel on part of the Friary Outer site, but with uncertainty over the hotel chain’s future growth plans, S Harrison has now teamed up with Premier Inn.

Work on site is already underway on the first phase of the scheme to provide a new car park and public toilets that will be owned and run by Lichfield District Council, as well as 54 apartments for Bromford residents and six affordable homes.

S Harrison has submitted a revised proposal for planning approval to Lichfield District Council this week (w/c 28 May), following a number of design changes requested by Premier Inn.

Says Gavin Jones, project manager for developers S Harrison Developments Ltd:

“We’re delighted that Premier Inn has recognised the demand for its quality and value hotel provision in Lichfield and look forward to delivering the new hotel during next year. We hope to gain planning approval in July.”

Premier Inn is expanding across the UK, and is on track to increase its current 47,000 Premier Inn bedrooms to 65,000 by 2016. Whitbread, Premier Inn’s parent company, announced in its latest Trading Update to the City (28 February 2012) that it is creating 10,000 new jobs in the UK over the next three years as a result of the expansion of the Costa and Premier Inn brands.

John Bates, Head of Acquisitions – UK and Ireland for Whitbread Hotels and Restaurants, said: “Our business is in terrific shape and as a result we were able to swoop quickly on an excellent development opportunity and add another fantastic location for our customers. Friary Outer ticks all the boxes for Premier Inn, given its great central location and convenient transport access. Our enlarged hotel will create new jobs in Lichfield and help attract even more people into the city. I can’t wait to finalise the last remaining details of the deal and start building our latest Premier Inn hotel in the Midlands.”

The switch of hotel operator will have no effect on the delivery timescales for the whole £14 million scheme. With a shorter build programme, construction work on the hotel is not scheduled to start until later in the year. All elements of the scheme are set to be completed by 2013.

Councillor Mike Wilcox, Leader of Lichfield District Council, said: “It is great news that Premier Inn is set to come on board with the redevelopment of Friary Outer. We have a thriving tourism industry and great business links, and Lichfield City will really benefit from a centrally placed hotel.”