Preston City Council has approved plans for a £20m hotel development by Amadeus Property and Development.
The nine-storey development will be built at the Fox Street car park site on the corner of Corporation Street and Ring Way in the city centre. The scheme by Manchester-based architect Harrison Ince features a 126-bedroom hotel, 52 apartments and 18,000 sq ft of retail.
The unanimous planning decision ran counter to concerns from local traders that the loss of the existing 110-space car park will adversely affect their business. The scheme however is widely expected to mark a step-change in the quality and scale of developments in the area since Preston was granted city status in 2002.
David Linley, principal planning officer at Preston Council, remarked that the building would be a "gateway feature to the city and, hopefully, a prestigious one". The planning decision is also reported to be subject to a Section 106 agreement which would see the applicants pay £113,000 towards improvements to local public transport facilities.
A spokesman from planning consultant De Pol Associates was unable to reveal details of the hotel operator at this stage.
Meanwhile, public consultation on the revised planning guidance for Grosvenor's £700m 30-acre Tithebarn development site in Preston city centre is expected to start on 15 October, lasting six weeks. A detailed planning application for the scheme, which has been eight years in preparation, is due to be submitted at the end of 2008.