Controversial plans for the creation of a 71-bedroom Premier Inn hotel in Keswick have been approved.

The Lake District National Park's development control committee yesterday approved plans for the creation of the hotel, which the site owners say is set to play a "positive role" in the future of the town.

Proposals for the conversion of the former Ravensfield Care Home on High Hill in the town has attracted significant opposition since first being revealed.

Keswick Town Council and Cumbria Tourism are among the voices that have registered their objection, with Cumbria Tourism arguing that the particular character of Keswick arising from its abundance of independent businesses and lack of national chains is integral to the unique offering it gives to visitors.

A total of 136 households also submitted official objections to the plans.

It was recommended to the committee by planning officials that the plans be approved, given that the proposals would result in "public benefits to the town and to the wider area", which would offset the "limited low level harm" to the surrounding area.

The owners of the site, development company Premcor, has previously stressed the economic benefits a new Premier Inn would bring to Keswick.

Director Simon Hawkins said in August: “Residents understandably want the development of the former nursing home site to play a positive role in Keswick’s future.

"I believe a new hotel will do so by bringing the heavily constrained site back into long-term use, cater for the growing demand for overnight accommodation in Keswick and provide year-round jobs.

"It’s a positive use for a site which is so close to the town centre and cannot be developed for new homes due to restrictive planning policies preventing residential development on the site due to the risk of flood.”

The group "Keswick Against Premier Inn", which has encouraged the voicing of opposition to the project among residents of the town and beyond, acknowledged the result with a statement published on social media.

"Only time will tell if this was right for Keswick but as of now we have to accept the decision and get on with our lives," the statement read.

"Keswick has had many challenges through its years and I am sure it will continue to survive no matter what changes are made."