AN MP has criticised a decision not to allow the development of a new £7.5m Travelodge at Teesside Park.

Stockton Borough Council’s planning committee has twice rejected the proposal, partly in the hope that investors would boost the town’s High Street instead.

The decision went to appeal and today (Tuesday, December 22), The Planning Inspectorate upheld Stockton Council’s judgement.

The authority is trying to persuade the owners, leaseholders and other interested parties into re-opening the derelict Swallow Hotel on Stockton High Street and it was thought a new hotel at Teesside Park would make that more difficult.

However, James Wharton, Conservative MP for Stockton South, expressed his disappointment at the failed appeal, arguing that a new Teesside Park Travelodge hotel, along with two proposed new restaurants, would have created 60 new jobs.

He added that the new hotel would have replaced the empty Springs Leisure Club which has been derelict since 2007.

He said: “Stockton council argued that it would damage the High Street to have a small hotel and a few facilities built here. I just do not buy that argument.

"If a new hotel and a few facilities would derail the plans to regenerate Stockton, with the price tag of well over £20m they come with, then serious questions have to be asked about just how fragile their economic model is.

“Despite this, I hope some solution can be found to deal with The Springs which has stood empty and decaying for too long. I will be pressing for a firm commitment from Stockton council that they will look to do something about this long neglected site, they’ve turned away someone who wanted to sort it out.”

In a published judgement The Planning Inspectorate noted there had been no interest to develop the Swallow Hotel in the past four years but; “nevertheless, the proposal would undermine the potential for hotel development in the town centre and to this extent it would undermine the strategy that seeks to reinforce the viability of the existing centre.”

Bob Cook, leader of the council, said he was pleased the planning committee decision had been upheld. The regeneration of the High Street was already yielding results with 23 new businesses coming to the area in the last 12 months.