The company behind Premier Inn has said it could be welcoming its first guests into a new branch in Keswick as soon as spring 2022.

Planning permission for the new hotel was granted by the Lake District National Park Authority.

The creation of the 71-bedroom hotel, which has faced controversy from a number of critics who say the hotel will not be in keeping with the character of the town, will now go ahead.

The news was welcomed by Kevin Murray, senior acquisitions manager at Whitbread, Premier Inn’s parent company, who said it had long been the company’s hope to secure a site in Keswick.

“We have been searching for a suitable location for a Premier Inn hotel in Keswick for many years,” he said.

Mr Murray added that he was grateful to all those who had worked with Whitbread throughout the planning process.

“We are grateful for the input of the national park’s planning department, community groups and Keswick residents in evolving our plans for a Premier Inn on High Hill," he said.

“I would also specifically like to thank all the residents and local stakeholders who supported our planning application.”

He described the planning committee’s decision as “significant” for the company.

“The proposed development will bring a different style of accommodation to Keswick, increasing choice for visitors the town, and will help to support the local economy as Premier Inn customers go out to eat, drink and enjoy everything Keswick and the Lakes have to offer,” he said.

“We will now work closely with Premcor and planning officers at the park to discharge the conditions associated with the approval.

“All being well, we could be welcoming our first guests to the hotel in spring [or] summer 2022.

"I can’t wait for the day the doors open.”