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Council / Planning approval for Lerwick Premier Inn hotel

An image of what the hotel could look like. Courtesy of Macaulay Miller Architecture.

A PROPOSAL to build a 91-bedroom Premier Inn hotel in Lerwick has received approval from planning officers.

The project at the site of Brevik House already had planning permission in principle but Shetland’s Islands Council planning service has now approved the finer details.

In a decision report released on Friday, planners noted that objections from some local accommodation providers concerned about the impact the hotel could have on the sector did not play into the decision.

This was because the planning permission in principle, given in 2017, had already approved the idea of a large hotel on the site.

Officers added that “the effect of a development on competitors is not a material planning concern” regardless.

“It is considered that the plans and details presented have evidenced that the development of a 91 bedroom hotel on this site in the form proposed will not have an adverse effect on the sustainability of the area,” the planning service wrote in their decision notice.

“The site is within an area of best fit, which is a focus for growth, with access to amenities such as schools, shops, and employment where development of this type is encouraged.

“It is considered that the layout, scale, orientation and exterior material finishes of the proposed hotel will not have a significant adverse impact on the natural and built environment.”

A report into the decision said the hotel is “undoubtedly a fairly large scale building on the site”.

It said, however, that the layout of the site has “reduced the impact of the scale of development on the immediate neighbouring properties by setting the building as far from these properties as possible so that it reads more as a stand-alone building than as part of the existing residential area”.

The report points to the area featuring other large buildings like the Lerwick Hotel, offices, Lerwick Health Centre and the Gilbert Bain Hospital.

“Given the mixture of building types and uses in the area it is not considered that the scale of the proposed hotel building is out of character for the area,” planners said.

The planning permission has been granted on a number of conditions, including that a minimum of 100 car parking spaces should be provided.

It is thought that 24 full and part-time jobs could be created if the three-floor hotel opened.

In addition to the 91 rooms, it could also have a restaurant and a bar.

Developer Breiwick Bay Properties Ltd gained planning permission last year for over 30 flats and houses on the site after seemingly giving up on its original idea to build a hotel, which first surfaced back in 2014.

However, the company since returned to the hotel plans.

The plans come at a time when a number of hotels in Shetland are on the market, with both the Queens and the Grand in Lerwick up for sale as well as Scalloway Hotel.

Concerns had been raised about the prospect of a large hotel opening in Lerwick, potentially offering competitive rates, including from the owners of a local guest house.

A previously lodged objection from a group of North Mainland accommodation providers was withdrawn in June.

The idea of a Brevik hotel first mooted a total of 125 bedrooms, but plans were scaled back to 91.

Brevik House, the old local NHS headquarters, has been used in recent years by a group collecting aid items for refugees.