Residents in Britain’s ‘angriest town’ who previously kicked out a McDonald’s have seen off another corporate giant – Premier Inn.
Tavistock has been under the nation’s gaze since the community declared war last week against plans for a major hotel on the site of a key public car park. The Devon town – which kicked out McDonald’s more than 10 years ago – saw tempers flare once again over the latest chain they claimed threatened to sabotage their way of life.
Tavistock in Devon was dubbed the ‘angriest town’ after driving McDonald’s out (Picture: Alamy) Steve Hipsey and Andy Coulson lead a campaign to prevent Premier Inn being built in Tavistock, Devon (Picture: SWNS) And in a dramatic u-turn at a council meeting yesterday, the authority threw out its plans following a heated public debate.
A packed public gallery cheered as West Devon Borough Council leader Philip Sanders announced he would not be supporting plans to borrow the £10.6m it would need to help the project get off the ground.
The leader explained how the plan won’t now be able to go forward to the planning stage given there won’t be funding agreed for it. This signalled another victory for the town’s residents against a multi-national giant, adding they were ‘delighted’ with the outcome.
Several local residents had earlier given an impassioned plea at the meeting claiming the scheme would sound the death knell for independent B&Bs and shops.
The corporate-hating locals have a history of turfing out corporate giants.
Tavistock resident Sandra Callaghan has run April Cottages for 20 years. Shop owner Valerie Davenport came out against the proposed building of the Premier Inn
The council’s initial plan was to borrow the money to build the hotel which it would hope to claw back through yearly rental charges on the land, which the borough owns.
Council leader Cllr Philip Sanders told the audience he was wounded by accusations that he ‘doesn’t care’ about Tavistock. He said he had lived in the town since 1974 and brought up two kids here and told the crowd he ‘doesn’t appreciate comments about the only good Councillor is a dead one’.
Chair of the meeting Cllr Mike Davies had earlier compared the debate to an episode of Question Time, given the strength of feeling in the room.
And Cllr Bob Baldwin said that the Premier Inn plan doesn’t make business sense to the council and threatens Tavistock’s world heritage status. Andy Coulson, who is urging people to sign an online petition against the proposed Premier Inn.
Premier Inn says searches for Dartmoor National Park are popular in the area. He said: ‘The is no consideration on migration of existing B&B visitors into budget hotel accommodation.’
Councillor Graham Parker also made an impassioned speech about life in Tavistock. He says: ‘We must preserve parking, independent businesses and town’s heritage which a Premier Inn would jeopardise.’
Local residents said they were thrilled by the outcome. Donna Baker said: ‘Look at all the towns, they all have something to be angry about these days. There are a number of things being forced upon us. This seemed to be a reckless waste of money.’