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Whitbread gets green light for new hotel at Milton Keynes’ Willen Lake

8 May 2020 Estate

Milton Keynes Willen View From Lakeside Footpath North V2

Whitbread – owner of Premier Inn – has secured planning permission for a new Premier Inn hotel and family restaurant at Willen Lake in Milton Keynes: a scheme which will create 60-70 new jobs and see a multi-million pound investment.

Milton Keynes Council approved the proposals at a meeting of its Planning Committee on Thursday 7th May 2020, subject to the completion of a Section 106 Agreement.  The meeting was held ‘virtually’ under changes as a result of COVID-19.

The proposals are for a new 120 bedroom Premier Inn hotel together with a 211 cover ‘Cookhouse and Pub’ restaurant overlooking the lake.  As well as adding more hotel capacity and more choice into the area, the new hotel and related investment will further reinforce Willen Lake as one of the key leisure attractions for Milton Keynes.

Whitbread designed and developed the plans in conjunction with The Parks Trust which has a wider ambition for the overall improvement of Willen Lake.

Jamie Baker, Development Manager at Whitbread, said:

“A brand new, purpose-planned and purpose-built Premier Inn will make a massive contribution to the facilities and attractiveness of Willen Lake.  The designs for both the hotel and family restaurant really connect with the lake providing striking views and what will be a fantastic place to meet, eat, drink and relax.  Getting the green light to invest into and improve this part of Milton Keynes is more important now than ever and I’m pleased the Council has supported our vision and proposed investment.”

Ben Allot, Head of Property at The Parks Trust, said:

“Willen Lake is managed by The Parks Trust. We have been working hard to improve the visitor experience at what is one of Milton Keynes’ most popular leisure destinations.  The new Premier Inn hotel and restaurant will attract new visitors and will be an important contribution to the city’s visitor economy.  The rental income from this venture goes directly back into the charity to support its important work, caring for Milton Keynes’ parks.  This work is financed by The Trust’s endowment fund which enables the charity to make investments which provide the income to maintain and improve the parks.”

Whitbread, which combines expertise in both property development and operation, coordinated a dedicated design team to create an attractive new hotel and restaurant on the site.

The new four storey hotel will be a latest-generation Premier Inn with a bespoke design to reflect the site’s setting.  The adjacent Cookhouse and Pub restaurant will have a light and bright glass frontage and outside seating area for customers.  The restaurant will be a single storey building with double-height windows to the front, overlooking the lake.

The hotel will feature a number of family bedrooms to cater for people visiting Milton Keynes for Willen Lake, Gulliver’s World or other local attractions and looking for suitable accommodation in this part of Milton Keynes.

A dedicated customer car park will provide 157 car parking spaces.

The site of the new hotel and restaurant is off Brickhill Street immediately to the south of the Unify office building.


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Notes to editors

Premier Inn at Willen Lake

Following planning approval for the proposed new hotel and restaurant – and in line with the new facilities coming into operation – Whitbread anticipates reviewing its current position on the existing Willen Lake hotel, where the Premier Inn (‘Premier Inn Milton Keynes East Willen Lake’) is alongside a Greene King pub and restaurant. 

Part of the reason for submitting the proposals for the new hotel is to enable Premier Inn to modernise its accommodation in this sought-after location, including being able to offer more family rooms, as well as to have a Whitbread brand food & beverage offer.

About Premier Inn

Premier Inn was named the UK’s top-rated hotel chain for 2019 according to Which? With over 800 hotels and more than 76,000 rooms across the UK and Ireland, Premier Inn guests are never far from a great night’s sleep at fantastic value rates. Premier Inn hotels are in more locations than any other UK hotel brand for the ease and convenience of leisure and business travellers alike.  

All Premier Inn bedrooms feature en-suite bathrooms, a luxurious Hypnos® bed, a choice of pillows, TV with Freeview and free Wi-Fi. A bar and restaurant is situated either on-site or next door to each hotel, offering a wide range of food and drink including a delicious all-you-can-eat breakfast.  

Across the estate, the average Trip Advisor score for Premier Inn hotels is 4.2. Premier Inn has been awarded the Best UK Family Hotel in the TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards, Best UK Hotel Group in the Silver Travel Awards and the Business In The Community Environmental Leadership Award. In 2019 Premier Inn was also named the UK’s top-rated hotel chain for the fourth year in a row by Which?  

Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity is the National Charity partner of Premier Inn and to date team members, guests and suppliers have reached the milestone of £10 million, which formed part of the funding towards the Premier Inn Clinical Building, officially opened in January 2018. The next phase of the partnership will see Premier Inn guests and team members raising funds towards the new Great Ormond Street Hospital Sight and Sound Centre. The centre, due to open in 2020, will be the first dedicated medical facility for children with sight and hearing loss in the UK.  

Outside of the UK, Premier Inn’s expansion plans are focused on Germany.  Premier Inn opened its first hotel in Frankfurt in 2016 and has more than 6,000 Premier Inn bedrooms in its secured pipeline in Germany.    

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