The budget chain wants to open a 64-bedroom family hotel at a former University of Cumbria property on The Struggle in Ambleside which will create an estimated 30 full and part-time jobs.
But B&B owners in the town fear the chain will slash room rates in the off-season – cutting a vital source of income which keeps many afloat during winter.
Tourism bodies are divided with Cumbria Tourism saying the new jobs should be welcomed and that a national hotel chain would help lure more visitors.
But the Lakes Hospitality Association believes national budget brands could harm the ‘character’ of the area and that a price war would be unwelcome at the cheaper end of the market.
Premier Inn says its ‘small on-site restaurant’ will be ‘predominantly aimed at providing guests with breakfasts and light meals but would not compete with existing restaurants and pubs in Ambleside’.
The company confirmed to the Gazette it has purchased Hilltop, a significant former University property, dependent on planning permission.
It has held preliminary talks with the Lake District National Park Authority ahead of tabling a full planning application and will unveil the plans on March 28-29 at The Parish Centre in Ambleside.