Controversial plans for an 81-bedroom hotel in Thurso has been approved by Highland councillors who claim it will be a major boost for the local economy.
The budget chain Premier Inn hotel will be built on a former livestock mart site and will feature a bar, outdoor seating, an 87-space car park and a number of rooms specially adapted for disabled guests.
Highland Council’s north planning committee yesterday unanimously voted in favour of the development.
They say it will not only boost the local economy but also make Thurso look more appealing to visiting tourists.
Objectors previously raised concerns over the impact the development would have on trade in the community, claiming it would lead to other businesses in the town having to close in the winter, resulting in a loss of job opportunities.
Nick Johnston, regional acquisition manager for developers Whitbread, said they were delighted with the result.
He added: “It’s absolutely fantastic, its great news, we are over the moon. It’s a real result after everybody’s work and effort over the past 12 months to get to this point that we are at today.
“Obviously the councillors were all very happy and keen to see the sight developed in the area, which is great news, we couldn’t have asked for anymore.”
The land, which lies between Thurso High school and the town’s railway station, has lain derelict for 12 years.
Councillors referred to the location as an ‘eyesore’ at the moment and said any new development would improve the look of the area.
Construction work is expected to begin in February next year.