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Hotel planned for former office block

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The Aspen House siteThe Aspen House siteThe site of a former office block in Swindon is to become an eight-storey hotel, in plans unveiled by Swindon Borough Council.

The council has signed a deal with hospitality and leisure firm Whitbread to build a 197-bedroom Premier Inn on the site formerly occupied by Aspen House in Regent Street.

The £17m development will comprise hotel accommodation with an integral 214 cover ‘Bar+Block’ steakhouse restaurant at ground floor level and 42 car parking spaces, with additional car parking available in the Granville Street Car Park to the west of the site.

Around 80 jobs will be created at the new hotel, which is still subject to planning approval.

The 1.2 acre site was formerly occupied by a brutalist office block, erected in the early 1970s. It was home to insurance company Heath Lambert until 2005.

The site was purchased by the council’s regeneration firm, Forward Swindon, in 2012 and the tower block was demolished in 2014.

The Aspen House site from the airThe Aspen House site from the airCouncillor Dale Heenan, Swindon Borough Council’s cabinet member for the town centre, said: “Whitbread, the UK's largest hospitality company, has purchased the former Aspen House site in Regent Street, and over the next 12 months, residents and businesses will see a visible difference with construction starting on a new Premier Inn hotel and steakhouse.

“This deal has been quietly worked on for nearly a year and is hugely positive news for Swindon. It clearly demonstrates that, step by step, we are making real progress in sorting out the regeneration of our town.

“The council is committed to making the town centre a popular and thriving destination. Slowly but surely, progress is happening on the first new office development in 20 years, the North Star leisure complex, restoring the Mechanics’ Institute, the £30m new Bus Boulevard, a new larger theatre and art gallery, a new Hilton by Hampton near the train station, and the new £25m Town Investment plan."

Peter Lawson, from planning consultancy Turley, said: “Whitbread’s investment in this key site will assist in regenerating the upper part of Regent Street and will boost footfall both during the daytime and into the evening to the benefit of Swindon town centre as a whole”.

Paul Smith, acquisition manager at Premier Inn, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to invest in an excellently located town centre site and bring a new Premier Inn hotel and restaurant, around 80 to 85 jobs and some real momentum to the regeneration plans in Swindon.

"We’re pleased to be playing a part and, subject to planning permission, look forward to starting construction on what will be a superb addition to Swindon’s hotel and leisure offer.”