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MP urges university to say no to Premier Inn

April 16, 2014 10:39 AM

Tim also singled out Ambleside councillor Heidi Halliday for praise after her campaign to make sure communities within the National Park did not lose out.South Lakes MP Tim Farron has backed a campaign calling on the University of Cumbria not to sell off one of their buildings in Ambleside to the Premier Inn.

Premier Inn want to redevelop the former University of Cumbria Hilltop building in Ambleside, but some objections have already been raised by local residents. A petition created by hard-working South Lakeland District Councillor Heidi Halliday has garnered over two and a half thousand signatures: https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/say-no-to-the-proposed-plans-to-build-a-premier-inn-in-ambleside

Tim has written to the University of Cumbria today and asked them to sell the building to a housing trust instead.

Tim said: "I am very careful on planning issues as they are a quasi-judicial matter, but I believe that this application will not help Ambleside. I actually believe it will hurt many of the businesses and Bed & Breakfasts in the town. I think it's not just a planning application, I think it's a policy matter that will change the whole town.

"I have long campaigned to bring back the University to the Ambleside campus and I'm delighted that we have managed to do this. It has been a long road, but together we've done it thanks to the community's campaign.

"I am mindful of the need for the University to gain capital receipts from under-used buildings. But I also think that the University has an obligation to the town. I think that they should have sold the property at market rate to a local housing trust. This would have allowed us to build much needed affordable housing for local families.

"The university needs the town as much as the town needs them. This application in my view will hurt Ambleside and they have not taken this into account. I hope they do in the days and weeks ahead."