A NEW £4.5 million, 60-bedroom hotel and restaurant is on schedule to open in Leek next Spring.
The former Talbot Inn, at the bottom of Derby Street, is being converted by Whitbread into a Premier Inn, which is due to open in March.
The hotel will create 30 new jobs, in a variety of roles. Recruitment for the new positions will commence in the New Year.
Whitbread has a corporate target for 50 per cent of the new roles at hotel and restaurant sites to be taken by those in long-term unemployment or not in employment, education or training (NEETs).
The key development is intended to complement and enhance the Nicholson War Memorial, as well as improving the eastern approach to the town centre.
It is being delivered via a partnership of Staffordshire Moorland District Council, Staffordshire County Council and Whitbread.
Last week representatives of the partners visited the site to take a look at the progress being made.
This includes refurbishment works inside and outside the existing structure, plus the creation of a new building to the rear.
Councillor Sybil Ralphs, leader of the district council, said: “These are exciting times for Leek.
“This development, in this prime location, is the catalyst for the wider regeneration of the town centre as set out in our Masterplan, so it’s wonderful to see work now underway.
“While it heralds the start of more investment and improvement, which is very welcome, I’m also pleased that it respects the town’s built heritage by retaining the historic Talbot Inn frontage. That residents and visitors will be able to enjoy the new hotel and a restaurant facility within a few months is great news, and I’d like to thank all the partners involved for their commitment to Leek and to the Moorlands.” The district and county councils have agreed a pioneering District Deal – the first in Staffordshire.
The Premier Inn investment is just one of the projects being delivered as part of the agreement. County councillor Mark Winnington, cabinet member for economy and infrastructure, said: “As a county council we are already committed to working even closer with our district and borough partners to deliver real benefits for Staffordshire residents.
“Improvements to roads and infrastructure is key to delivering the bold growth plans of Leek and we are delighted to be working with our partners to bring the Premier Inn to town.” Nick Johnston, acquisitions manager for Whitbread Hotels & Restaurants, Premier Inn’s parent company, said: “We have more than 53,000 bedrooms across 660 UK hotels and we are expanding on the back of extremely high customer demand.
“We give our customers exactly what they want – consistently highstandard, affordable hotel accommodation in the very best locations.
“Leek adds another excellent site to our existing network and we are expecting the hotel to be very popular.
We can’t wait to open, create new jobs and become part of the local business community.”