A WEST Cumbrian restaurant is at risk of closure under plans by a hospitality company to build more hotel rooms and slash its chain of branded restaurants.

Premier Inn owner Whitbread, which runs restaurants including Brewers Fayre and Beefeater, announced plans to replace 112 ‘lower returning’ restaurants with new hotel rooms.

Plans to shut down and sell off 126 branded restaurants across the country were also revealed under Whitbread’s ‘Accelerating Growth Plan’.

The company has now confirmed that The Howgate Brewers Fayre restaurant near Whitehaven is one of the branches to face the chop.

The Cockermouth Brewers Fayre is not thought to be at risk of closure.

About 1,500 jobs are to be axed across the country from Whitbread’s total UK workforce of 37,000 employees.

The company said its proposals were still subject to consultation and the Howgate site is still currently open and trading.

A Whitbread spokesperson said: “We recognise that this will be unsettling for our team members and we are providing them with dedicated support.

“We are committed to working hard to enable as many as possible of our affected team members to stay with us by either transferring into new roles, or by taking up other vacancies across the business more broadly through our existing recruitment activity.”

Whitebread say there is ‘a significant and structural shortage’ of new hotel rooms across the UK and it is ‘uniquely placed to meet the strong demand’ by commencing a new hotel room extension programme.

The company announced pre-tax profit of £452 million for the year ending February 29, up 21 per cent on the year before.

However, its restaurants and pubs division lagged behind. The company’s total food and beverage sales were up only 7 per cent year on year, driven mainly by breakfasts in the restaurant chain.

Over the next three years, Whitbread said the cost-cutting programme will save about £150 million.